For how long it’s been around, recycling still has a long way to go, considering it’s nowhere near as effective as it should be, and the majority of plastics that do get recycled are wasted.
This significantly lowers the demand for plastic, as production has been reduced by a margin in the past decade, but it’s still not enough to say we’ve made some major improvements in terms of reducing mankind’s carbon footprint.
That being said, this doesn’t mean you should give up on recycling altogether, but rather, that we should find new and more sustainable ways to recycle the items we no longer need, and this begins in your own household.
From paper to plastic, almost everything can be repurposed or disposed of adequately, and we’re going to try and introduce you to some of the many strategies you can implement in your household to reduce your own carbon footprint.
The problem at hand
Currently, the main issue lies in how we approach recycling, as we have separate bins for different materials, and recycling contamination is a fairly common thing.
By throwing a piece of glass into the plastic bin, you’re doing a lot more than just mislabeling waste, and you’re causing a great deal of problems for the recycling process itself.
A single piece of metal can contaminate hundreds of pounds of plastic waste, and it’s up to us to be responsible enough to dispose of it the way we’re supposed to.
Everyone has to do their part in keeping our communities clean, and it starts with the smallest of details, and if we make sure that recyclables are labeled properly, less of it will eventually end up in a landfill and continue polluting this wonderful planet we’re living on.
Preparing your recyclables
The main thing to keep in mind is the condition of the items you’re disposing of.
Recyclables should always be dry, empty, and most importantly clean.
Organic waste can pollute plastic waste to a great degree, and even the smallest amount of residue can cause problems during the recycling process.
Another thing most people overlook is the fact that some items can’t be recycled, yet they throw them in the plastic waste bin anyways.
A good rule of thumb is that if you’re unsure about an item’s recyclability, the best course of action is to just throw it out.
Throwing something out is much less risky than hoping the plant will be able to recycle it and risking the item contaminating an entire batch of recyclables, which can lead to much greater amounts of waste being dumped into a landfill.
Contrary to popular belief, plastic bags are hardly ever recycled, and you should never bunch them together with your recyclable waste.
We’ve all got boxes upon boxes of old clothing somewhere in our attic, and most of this clothing eventually gets thrown out when the storage space is being cleaned out.
Clothing has become one of the most common items in landfills, and with the fast fashion industry constantly pumping out low-quality, unsustainable clothing, the majority of it ends up ruining an entire ecosystem.
Turn your old shirts into kitchen rags or donate them to a local thrift shop, giving them a new life with someone who may need them more than you ever will.
This helps reduce the impact on the fashion industry, as a single garment gets used multiple times before it’s thrown out, preventing it from rotting away at a landfill for at least a few more years.
The same goes for plastic containers, as all of them are extremely durable and can be used to store items in your kitchen instead of having to dish out hundreds of dollars on expensive Tupperware.
Doing your part
You can make regular trips to your local recycling plant to make sure you’re not throwing out anything that can be recycled.
Optimally, you’ll be making these trips on your way to and from work and your other errands, as this reduces the amount of carbon monoxide your car will release into the atmosphere.
Of course, not everyone has this luxury, and some can’t afford it or don’t have a recycling plant nearby.
As long as you’re being responsible about how you dispose of your waste, you’re doing the right thing, and even if it means tossing it into the trash, you know that you did your part in preventing your waste from polluting the environment any further.
Create a composting bin in your yard or collect recyclables in greater quantities to dispose of once or twice a month, and you’ll feel much better knowing you did something to make this world a better place for future generations.
It starts with you, and if others follow your example, change will eventually become noticeable.