So it has become a habit of mine that every Monday morning I load my recycling bins and drop off in the larger recycling bins that are in the parking lot of my local grocery store. This past Monday I was pretty annoyed with what I saw. There is one bin that is just for paper and a second bin that is for paper, plastic and metals. In multiple places on the bins it says “No glass” and “No cardboard”. Yet overflowing from the bins were large cardboard boxes and strew on the ground around the bins were large amounts of broken glass. And both bins were overflowing with non-recyclable items like clothing and garbage. I realize that I’m ranting a little and I also realize that the people who most need to hear this are probably not the ones who read my blog, but I’m going to say it anyway.*Warning, this is where I get on my soap box.*
- Cardboard, glass, metals, plastic and paper are all recyclable items. You just have to take them to the right places.
- Here are the locations if you happen to live in St George. If you live elsewhere you can type in your zip code and what you want to recycle to Earth911.com and it will tell you where to take it.
- Cardboard- the recycling bin in front of the new Bosch kitchen store
- Glass- the yellow binnies found in the parking lots of Smith’s, across the street from the old hospital, Harmon’s parking lot, as well as a few others
- Paper, plastic and metal- all of the above plus the parking lot of Lin’s
- You can recycle old clothing by leaving it in the Big Brother, Big Sister bins that are at the Bosch kitchen store and Lin’s, or by taking to Deseret Industries, the Salvation Army or the Catholic Church Community Center
- Do encourage your children, friends and family to recycle. Big changes won’t happen unless lots of ordinary people start doing little things.
- Think about things before you throw them in the garbage. Some lawn furniture, siding, gutters, car components and window frames contain aluminum which can be turned into soda cans just as well as old soda cans can. Foil candy wrappers works as well.
- Don’t recycle cardboard or paper that has food or grease on it (i.e. your standard pizza box). The grease can contaminate and ruin huge batches of recycled paper, making the process very inefficient. Either throw it away or shred it and use it as compost. (This is one that I just recently learned myself.)
- Don’t recycle used paper towels, napkins, plates, etc. This is for the same reasons. The paper pulp and oil stick together and once the contaminants are squeezed out you have a product with holes.
- Don’t bother to thoroughly clean plastic, glass and metal containers. These items are recycled through a different process than paper and food residue is burned off. (I usually give these items a quick rinse before tossing them in the recycle bin, just to cut down on smell and keep my bin cleaner.)
- Don’t pour motor oil down the drain. Motor oil is recyclable and never wears out, it just gets dirty and needs to be processed and refined. One quart, if given the chance can contaminate 2 million gallons of water.
I highly encourage people to recycle. It turns what is otherwise garbage into something useful. It conserves resources and helps keep the places we live in cleaner and greener. And I think that a lot of people are thinking that if they throw something into a recycling bin, that they’re helping out. However, if you are not going to do it right, don’t bother. Irresponsible recycling costs recycling companies more than $700 million each year. It’s not rocket science people, my three year old knows how to sort the recycling. I’m assuming that these people making messes are adults, and guess what their mothers aren’t here to pick up after them, and in being careless they are making life more difficult for someone else.
A few interesting facts about recycling:
- Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours — or the equivalent of a half a gallon of gasoline.
- There is no limit to the amount of times an aluminum can be recycled.
- Recycling a single run of the Sunday New York Times would save 75,000 trees.
- If all our newspaper was recycled, we could save about 250,000,000 trees each year!
- Each ton (2000 pounds) of recycled paper can save 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, three cubic yards of landfill space, 4000 kilowatts of energy, and 7000 gallons of water. This represents a 64% energy savings, a 58% water savings, and 60 pounds less of air pollution!
- The construction costs of a paper mill designed to use waste paper is 50 to 80% less than the cost of a mill using new pulp.
- Recycling plastic saves twice as much energy as burning it in an incinerator.
- The energy saved from recycling one glass bottle can run a 100-watt light bulb for four hours or a compact fluorescent bulb for 20 hours. It also causes 20% less air pollution and 50% less water pollution than when a new bottle is made from raw materials.
- On average, it costs $30 per ton to recycle trash, $50 to send it to the landfill, and $65 to $75 to incinerate it.
- Glass takes 4000 years or more to decompose.
- Plastic is made out of oil, the same oil that can be turned into gasoline. Recycling plastic helps to cut down the demand for this resource which in turn helps to lower the cost of gas.
In conclusion, I believe that it is important to carefully use the resources that we have. Part of that is recycling (although an even bigger part is just using less). However, for your recycling to help you need to be careful and make sure that you’re putting your stuff in the right place, otherwise you may be undoing the efforts that someone else has made. I’m not perfect when it comes to recycling everything, but the reading that I did to write this article makes me want to do better.