The Ever-changing World of Recycling
March 13, 2020
Each year at Pisgah Valley Retirement Community, we host a recycling review for the independent residents. This topic is always highly attended with members of the community ready to fire off questions of can this be recycled and can that be recycled? Over time, this has become an annual presentation because the world of recycling is ever-changing and we want to do the right thing when it comes to waste – reduce it.
Why all the recycling changes?
One thing is clear when it comes to trash and recycling around the world – waste is not reducing, it is only growing. Countries such as China and Malaysia used to buy recyclables from the United States (and other countries) but in 2018 the decision was made to no longer be the “waste basket” for the world. This change alone has had a great impact on the recycling industry and how we handle trash in the United States deeming some products no longer recyclable. While some worry that a product is now trash and no longer capable of being reused, others wonder how to cut down on waste production all together.
Reduce, reuse and recycle is what we have all learned but now things aren’t that simple. Consider adopting the 6 R’s of recycling – Rethink, Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Replace.
Assess how you are throwing trash away. Look at the amount of trash your household is consuming and try to set realistic goals for slowly decreasing that load. Rethink how to purchase products that come in recyclable containers or less wrapping to throw away. Consider purchasing reusable water bottles rather than using plastic bottles.
Once you have had time to evaluate how the household will manage waste production, a list of certain items can be created for never purchasing or always purchasing. Try buying beverages that are packaged in aluminum cans rather than plastic. Refuse plastic packaging especially single use plastic as much as possible. Refusing to purchase items based off a company’s environmental stance is also a responsible way to cut down on waste.
Reducing waste can be done in multiple ways. A goal can be set for the household to not produce as much waste by reusing certain items within the home. For example, old jelly or jam jars can be used to store herbs or be used for drinking glasses. Purchasing items in bulk can also help to cut down on waste.
Of course, reusing items over and over will cut down on waste. Gallon milk jugs are great for watering plants. Consider having a clothing or furniture swap to reuse old items. Turn an old pair of socks into dusting cloths. The ideas are practically infinite so get creative.
In today’s world it is almost impossible to not produce any waste so be sure to still recycle responsibly. Check with your local recycling office to find out what items can and cannot be recycled. Consider doing this annually as we know the world of recycling is ever-changing and we want to do the right thing. If communities like Pisgah Valley can tackle recycling in a responsible manner then the power of the people can result in a positive impact on our environment in the form of less trash.