As mentioned in my last post, Reduce Reuse Recycle, recycling is a business. While we are not paid directly, we are paid through indirect dividends. This may be counted in the betterment of our communities, World, or through less costly goods (made from recycled materials). You’re hired! We are all colleagues here working for Mama Natch with the common goal of producing less waste- closing the loop. Sadly, if we do not succeed it will be the demise of more than a company. Mother Nature is our biggest Natural Resource, if we kill her… than it kills us.
Side note: Mother Nature will not fully die, but humans will not biologically evolve quickly enough to withstand her transition into a world without the environment we know.
Are you doing it right?
If you already recycle, please just use this to update your information and make sure you are doing it properly. If you don’t, please start, but first read this! If we are not recycling properly it ruins the entire batch from that truckload. To make this simple, my last apartment community had a big blue dumpster bin for recycling, it was easily recognizable as a recycling bin… however, people ALWAYS threw their trash in it.
This means that for all the people who were doing it right, it went to a landfill as garbage anyway. Wasted efforts, right? Exactly. Also, people like me, who moved from another place entirely had different recycling standards, and we also ruin the bins by not staying up to date with our locations regulations. I think even same locations change their collectable items over time based on the market and what they can sell, because remember… this is a business.
Please make sure to look up your local recycling company and see what they accept in their receptacles. It might also be printed on your provided bin!
Most programs keep it simple, and don’t complicate it. You are suppose to rinse your items- glass, plastic, and aluminum. Paper can be recycled even if it’s printed on, I believe receipts are nonrecyclable because the ink is toxic. Aluminum is the best item to recycle!! it can be recycled indefinitely and uses far less energy to reuse it than recreate it. Unfortunately mixed material cannot be recycled.
Update, update, UPDATE
I find the above to be pretty general across all places I have lived, again please check your community! Plastics are not all created equal, there are letters/numbers on the bottom of your containers- like PET or 1. If your community is specific to the plastic material, this makes it easy, just check the bottom of your container.
There are items that are harder to recycle, but can be- i.e. batteries, lighters… I will link a post here about those [once it is written]. Until then, keep them in a small container- one you’d trash or recycle anyway.
I also highly recommend shopping at Aldi, or somewhere like it. Aldi puts recyclable instructions on all their food items. Unfortunately a lot of food packagaing is mixed material- I need to start paying attention to the recycling label before I get it home. Before I went to Aldi, I shopped at Wegmans and would rinse and recycle all the packaging. Whoops! I definitely contaminated lots of truckloads.
Trader Joe’s now owns Aldi, and a lot of the same products are sold in other packaging at a higher rate at places like Wegmans. You are not giving up quality by shopping in these stores- you are actually shopping in a store that is simple and more sustainable. Just don’t forget a quarter! If you forget your reusable grocery bags just grab an inventory box- I’ve been reusing the same Goldfish box for months.
…one more thing
Whether you recycle or not this is IMPORTANT. To continue the demand for recycling programs and to finalize the closing of the loop we have to buy recycled material products. Have you seen the Tshirts made from recycled water bottles? (they’re so soft). Good companies change with demand, and innovators create companies to change the industry overall. Plastic is one of the hardest materials to recycle and we already have too damn much! Recently, we’ve found more things to do with plastic. At the very least, you should support the brands that are using recycled goods- not just the ones producing things you can recycle, but the companies that are purchasing those materials and making them into something new.
next up: composting.
It was surprisingly just as simple, if not even more so, than recycling. I don’t have my own garden; I use my ‘wasted’ nutrients to enrich my community. If you have your own garden then it will bring nutrients to your own backyard! It is the quickest and most efficient loop.