Day 314 – Choosing to recycle is a big step in helping the planet. However, it can get confusing. One question that many people have is, “How clean do I need to get my recyclables?” The folks at Earth911 put together a guide to help answer that question and they broke it down by type of material.
Jars, Bottle and Cans
These usually only need a quick rinsing.
If dealing with something like mayonnaise or peanut butter, try to get the majority out, but it does not need to be spotless.
For stickier stuff like honey or jelly, give it a good scrubbing with soap, so you can remove most if not all of the substance.
You do not need to remove labels from jars, bottles and cans.
Allow these containers to dry if you are placing them with mixed recyclables (like paper or cardboard).
Cardboard and Paper
When dealing with cardboard, like a pizza box, recycle what you can. Usually the lid is without grease or food, and can be put with your recyclables.
Don’t be ready to trash a box if you happened to spill a little food on it, while cooking. If it’s not a significant amount, still get that box to the recycle bin.
When it comes to paper, crumbled or wrinkled paper can go into a recycle bin. However, shredded paper can not.
Plastic Bags and Film
If a bag has food on it, make sure you clean it.
Make sure they are dry.
Some crumbs would not hinder the recycling process, but be sure to shake out bags before recycling.
Don’t put your plastic bags and film in your curbside recycling. Find a location (most grocery stores and Target) that will accept them.
By keeping contaminants out of your recycling bin the better chance your items will get recycled.
Day 232 – There are currently over 2,000 landfills in the United States. The reason we have so many landfills is due to the fact that we, Americans, throw a lot of stuff away. We are constantly tossing things in the trash without giving a second thought as to where it goes. If we just took a moment to ask, “Where is away?”, maybe we could start making changes in our behavior to minimize the amount of waste we produce.
Rubicon is the leading provider of cloud-based waste and recycling solutions for businesses, governments, and organizations worldwide. With more than 4.9 million service locations, Rubicon focuses on developing software solutions that bring new transparency to the waste and recycling industry—encouraging customers to make data-driven decisions that lead to more efficient and effective operations as well as more sustainable outcomes.
Nine-tenths of all solid waste in the United States does not get recycled.
Landfills are among the biggest contributors to soil pollution – roughly 80% of the items buried in landfills could be recycled.
The U.S. recycling rate is around 34.5%. If we’re able to get the rate to 75%, the effect will be like removing 50 million passenger cars from U.S. roads.
9 out of 10 people said they would recycle if it were “easier”.
The United States throws away $11.4 billion worth of recyclable containers and packaging every year.
In the United States, we throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour – about 42,000 per minute, or about 695 per second.
The amount of plastic film and wrap produced annually could shrink-wrap the state of Texas.
According to a study done by the University of Georgia, 18 billion pounds of plastic trash winds up in our oceans each year. To put that in perspective, it’s enough trash to cover every foot of coastline around the world with five full trash bags of plastic…compounding every year.
Over 100,000 marine animals die every year from plastic entanglement and ingestion.
Glass, like aluminum, is infinitely recyclable – without any loss in purity or quality.
Glass container manufacturers hope to achieve 50 percent recycled content in the manufacture of new glass bottles. This achievement would save enough energy to power 21,978 homes for one year and while removing over 181 tons of waste from landfills monthly.
In only three months, enough aluminum cans are thrown out in the United States to rebuild all of our commercial air fleets.
You can make 20 new cans from recycled material using the same amount of energy that it takes to make 1 brand new can.
While the United States celebrates the holidays, Americans produce an additional 5 million tons of waste (four million of the 5 million tons consisting of wrapping paper and shopping bags).
The majority of the 4 million tons of junk mail that Americans receive annually ends up in landfills.
On average, Americans use 650 pounds of paper a year. Each.
Americans make nearly 400 billion photocopies a year, which comes out to 750,000 copies every minute.
The average office worker in the United States goes through roughly 500 disposable cups annually.
2,000 pounds (or 1 ton) of recycled paper helps to save over 350 gallons of oil, 17 trees, and a large portion of landfill space
Of the 62 million newspapers printed daily in the United States, 44 million will be thrown away (roughly 500,000 trees).
Until we begin to realize that even though our trash may leave our house, it is not leaving our town or city. It is just being transported to another location, where the pile will continue to grow and grow. When will we begin to realize that a change needs to happen? Maybe when that pile becomes so large that the trash finds its way back to your home.
Tomorrow, a use for mango skins you most likely had no idea was possible.