One of Aaron and David’s nicknames for me is “recycling nazi ”. You would think having grown up at Hawks Landing Farm, rinsing the yogurt cup and putting it in the recycle bin instead of tossing it in the trash can would be natural for them. On occasion I’ll have to correct them, but for the most part they are pretty good about it. Overall at the farm way more waste is taken to the recycling side of the dump than we put in the landfill side (we haul our own trash, in a rural area like ours it a cost saving measure). Stella, who lives in town, had to ask the city for two recycle cans. She finds that her family, on a weekly basis, will only have 1/3 of their trash can full where their recycle can will be completely full (and this is after all bulky boxes have been flattened).
Recycling is easy – once you create the habit of not tossing everything into the trash can. Before you throw something away ask yourself these questions:
Can it be used by someone else? Maybe the item can be donated to a local charity.
Can it be remade into something else? This is called up-cycling. We’ll talk about this more another time
Can it be composted? Almost all non-meat food scraps can be composted. We feed all fruit and vegetable scraps to the chickens and alpacas. Things like egg shells and Ryan’s coffee grounds go in the compost pile along with garden trimmings and the chicken manure. We’ll discuss composting in detail in a later post.
Most everything else can be recycled. Check with your local waste management company
to find out the particulars for your area, but in general if the item has the recycle symbol on it and is clean it goes in your recycle bin. Yes, clean. I know it can seem like a pain to rinse out that glass jar or plastic ketchup bottle, but it will only take an extra second and the benefits will be far reaching. If the item can’t be cleaned, foil with baked on food residue, pizza box oily from the cheese, then put it in the trash can.
A look a few cool numbers: [According to the EPA]
In 2012 each American generated about 4.38 pounds of waste a day of which 1.51 pounds was recycled.
Americans are recycling 34% of all waste.
This is good, but there is still 36% of our waste going to the dump that can be recycled.
This is where you, your family, and your neighbors can make the difference. Without being obnoxious about it become that family become that person who makes their friends roll their eyes when you remind them to recycle that can or newspaper. Be vocal in the office about making sure used paper gets in the blue bin and not the round file. Help move your community to being one in which 100% of what can be recycled is recycle.
You, by simple daily acts, can make a difference.