Reuse on America Recycles Day

November 15, is America Recycles Day.  After so many years I am still surprised how hard it is to recycle in the United States. In my travels across America I can go weeks without seeing a recycle bin. In Europe often recycling is front and center, not perfect but it is seems a priority.

I have been surprised to learn this doesn’t always mean the product is recyclable????

Unfortunately it is still very hard to recycle plastic correctly in America. Paper/cardboard, glass and metal cans work well, but plastic, please read on.

Plastic recycling is very challenging. There is very little regulation of plastic in the United States. Plastic producers claim recycling is the answer to their products, but they don’t want any responsibility to pay for recycling or disposal of their products. They often they say their plastic is recyclable, when in fact it might be just one per cent recyclable or not at all.

Why is plastic recycling so hard? First there are those recycle 1-7 numbers. For something to be recycled it first needs to be collected, and then sorted into those  numbers. Next, it needs a market, or someone to buy it. All this makes plastic recycling expensive for communities (tax payers) and it is labor intensive.

 I am fortunate to live in a county (Hennepin) that makes this a priority, and I can’t express my gratitude to them enough!

Both Maine and Oregon have passed legislation to hold producers responsible for recycling and disposing of their products. This is a beginning and it is hopeful that more regulation of plastic could happen. As consumers we also have responsibility, when we purchase plastic we reinforce the idea that this is OK, and more of it is produced. The plastic chemical companies are gearing up to produce more plastic for the future, lets work to hold them accountable! Talk to your elected officials about how plastic producers should be held responsible for what happens to long lived plastics after disposal. Manufacturers also need more integrity in labeling what is in their plastic products.

On America Recycles Day recycle more of your paper/cardboard, glass and tin cans, and recycle plastic bottles and containers, but also begin to REDUCE your PLASTIC consumption.  Always bring your reusable cups/bottles, and bags for a start.

Big new goals on America Recycles Day https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/581578-epa-issues-national-recyling-plan-with-goal-of-50-percent-recycling

Make it a plastic-free day!

buy in bulk

Buying in bulk and refilling your bottles is the next step in reducing plastic.

Reading and watching list:

Maine Will Make Companies Pay for Recycling. Here’s How It Works. – The New York Times (nytimes.com) 

John Oliver Takes on the Plastics Industry – EcoWatch

California Just Passed 5 Mega Laws to Fight the Plastic Crisis – EcoWatch 

Plastics recycling is 90 percent garbage, John Oliver says, but that’s not your fault and there is a fix (yahoo.com) 

Watch Story of the Bottle! – Greenpeace

Virginia Governor Takes Action on Single-Use Plastics – EcoWatchBreak Free From Plastic Pollution Act Receives National Support – Center for Biological Diversity

America Recycles Day

Recycle More!
Recycle More!

Garbage is a terrible thing to waste!

On America Recycles Day, what commitment can you make to recycle more?  I live in a community where my one-sort recycle bin is picked up bi-weekly and compost every week.  It is easy!!  However, every community has their own rules on recycling and composting. Find recycling information for your community  http://earth911.com/

It is a horrible to waste valuable resources by putting recyclables in the landfill where they might sit for hundreds of years(We don’t know how long plastic will last, maybe forever in tiny pieces!)

http://earth911.com/  has a great article on the mistakes we make in recycling. Read it here

Some ideas to help you recycle more:

  1. Bottle caps should stay on bottles.
  2. Magazines and glossy paper can be recycled!
  3. Shredded paper is hard to recycle, it flies around.  Compost shredded paper.
  4. Food stained cardboard(pizza boxes) should not be recycled.  Again, they can be composted along with paper egg cartons.
  5. Do not put plastic bags in your compost bin.  They jam the machines!  Bring all plastic bags back to the grocery store for recycling, and reuse them over and over before you recycle them.
  6. Choose glass or aluminum over plastic.  Glass and aluminum are easier to recycle.
  7. More ideas
  8. Get into the recycle mindset
  9. Good Luck!

 

 

 

America Recycles Day

wpid-20150822_121411.jpgNovember 15 is America Recycles Day!  I am pleased how recycling has changed and awareness has increased over the past 2 years.  With the advent of the big blue one-sort containers many more people and communities are participating.  Even parks are adding containers to collect recyclables!

Of course with more recycling comes new problems.  Plastic bags are terrible problem when placed with your recyclables. NEVER put plastic bags in your one-sort container.  See the story below:

http://www.startribune.com/recycling-or-wish-cycling-materials-to-stop-tossing-in-the-big-blue-bins/329264261/

http://americarecyclesday.org/

https://health4earth.com/recycling-garbage-is-a-terrrible-thing-to-waste/

I am taking a different twist on America Recycles Day. Reuse is a higher step up from recycling. How can you reduce your plastic use? Plastic bag and bottle manufacturers make millions of dollars in profits from a product that is harmful to our waterways and wildlife. They need to take responsibility for the terrible waste they have created. How can you reuse your bags and refill some of those plastic bottles for reuse?

Some co-ops and grocery stores have fabulous selections of soaps and oils to refill your bottles
Some co-ops and grocery stores have fabulous selections of soaps and oils to refill your bottles

  1. Look for refill centers.

3. Use your own refillable water bottle.

Avoid plastic, fill your glass or metal bottles with water or other liquid
Avoid plastic, fill your glass or metal bottles with water or other liquid

 

 

4. Easiest of all: Bring your own reusable shopping bags shopping with you!

Shopping bags made from recycled plasstic
Shopping bags made from recycled plastic

 

 

 

 

 

http://americarecyclesday.org/

https://health4earth.com/recycling-garbage-is-a-terrrible-thing-to-waste/

http://www.earth911.com/home-garden/top-5-items-recycle-bathroom/#

Please recycle plastic bags at grocery stores!
Please recycle plastic bags at grocery stores!