Why Is Reducing Waste Important & How Can I Do It?

instead of recycling, shop with reusable bags

We hear the words without truly grasping their meaning, a fatal flaw of being human. “Reduce, reuse and recycle”; for some reason, from the time we are very young, that last piece of the statement is the only thing we focus on. But until you take the steps to reduce your waste, your efforts are doing absolutely nothing for the planet.

 

That bold statement is truer than ever before, thanks to the changes to recycling protocol in China. We can’t only depend on the sorting service that Green Think offers. We need to start all the way in square one, when you are standing in the isle of your local grocer, choosing a product.

 

Have you ever considered the ways you can very simply reduce your consumption?

 

What China’s Changes Are Doing to Us

 

One of our latest blogs discussed the rigid changes in the recycling that China is accepting. For decades the country took on the trash of the world, incorporating the raw products back into their economy, and even selling the repurposed items back to us. However, it has gotten to the point that they were no longer just getting recycling, and instead were sorting through hoards of unusable, dirty recycling (a.k.a. trash).

 

We’ve started to already feel the deep ripple effects with the new rules on our waste management bins in Salt Lake City, Utah. But these changes are further reaching than we could imagine. For instance, the city of Westborough, Massachusetts is being buried under waste. The disposal of paper is becoming an issue. There are 150 to 200 tractor loads of paper stacked 12 feet high, waiting for the opportunity to be reused—something that feels impossible right now.

 

How long will it take the recycling market to be found? How many more 12-foot stacks of recycling will we face? As we anticipate the coming “go green” wave, things that were once accepted as ordinary recycling—bubble wrap, shopping bags, plastic food covers—can no longer take refuge in your blue bin.

 

While we ride out this waste management disaster, there is one solution that is simple enough anyone can take part.

 

Simple Answer: Cut Out Your Waste

 

It’s time to reduce your waste. This isn’t a simple change that you can make overnight. You’ve got boxes of Ziploc sandwich bags in your pantry, waiting to be used. But by making incremental changes every week, you can become the zero waste hero you always imagined.

 

Tips You Can Carry Into Your Life

 

Compost what you can

  • When it comes to composting, it’s often the last thing on our minds. We’re so hyper focused on recycling, that it easily slips through the cracks. If you’ve got uncooked food, paper towels with no chemicals on them, compostable to go containers, coffee filters, used tissues and even loose hair, you’ve got the makings of an incredible compost bin.
  • Talk to your local waste management officials to see if you can get a bin through them. Otherwise, you can build a bin on your own, to be stored in the corner of your backyard.

 

Waste less by cooking with your food scraps

  • Your great grandparents, who lived through the Great Depression, would be appalled at the amount of food that goes into your disposal. They may even repeat the old saying to you, “Waste not; want not.”
  • Don’t let the tops of peppers or broccoli stems go to waste. Take the extra time to turn them into something healthy, like a vegetable broth. You can even freeze this to use at a future time.

 

Bring your own utensils with you

  • When you work in the modern office, this can be one of the hardest things to remember. Most places of work will provide paper plates and plastic utensils as a convenience to you.
  • If you bring a set of reusable utensils with you, this action may spark your coworkers to do the same, further eliminating the amount of recycling that is currently stacking up.

 

Become a “Just the food” professional

  • We’ve all had the nights when you get home from work and just don’t have the energy to do any cooking. Making a carryout order is nothing to be ashamed of. But this is where your go green mentality comes into play.
  • As you place your order over the phone or online, always make sure to note that you want only food. This way, you can bring in your own reusable bag to carry out the containers. You also won’t get unnecessary utensils and napkins that will end up waiting to be shipped to a recycling facility.
  • In some cases, the restaurant workers will be cheering you on for your efforts to save the earth (you didn’t hear it from me, but when you think green some places will reward you with a free dessert).

 

Forget about the plastic bags

  • It can be a challenge to remember your reusable shopping bags when you make your next trip to the grocery store. And when you take it a step further and eliminate plastic produce bags, you’ll feel like you’re packing a set of luggage for the trip. But by getting rid of these items, you’ll find that your waste management efforts go even further.
  • Keep the bags in your trunk, next to your door or underneath your shopping list so that you always remember them.

 

Unsubscribe from junk mail

  • The next time you get a credit card offer, think of all the paper stacking up in Massachusetts. Don’t be someone who adds to that unnecessary recycling pile. Go out of your way to make a phone call or go online to cancel these offers.
  • Your mailbox, and the environment, will thank you.

 

STOP buying plastic water bottles

  • This can be the easiest and most straightforward change you make. Invest in a high quality reusable bottle (and coffee mug). Your local waste management service and your wallet will thank you.
  • When it comes to coffee mugs, some shops will even give you a discount for your efforts.

 

The recycling crisis is more apparent than ever. By investing in Green Think recycling, we can help you with the sorting and making the most of your waste. But it’s up to you to take the initiative to reduce your consumption, or rather, to consume smarter.

 

 

Sources:

https://recyclenation.com/2018/01/why-reducing-your-waste-is-more-important-now-than-ever/

https://www.goevergreenllc.com/why-reducing-waste-may-be-as-important-as-recycling/

http://trashisfortossers.com/5-creative-ways-to-reduce-your-waste/

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/reduce-home-waste_us_57912d0be4b0fc06ec5c4b56

 

Step Up Your Game Day Recycling

end of game day, beginning of recycling

The crisp fall air wraps around you like a blanket. Changing leaves and the feeling of something new surround you—as if this season couldn’t get any better. You woke up this morning with one thing on your mind: college football. There is nothing on this planet like college football. You watch as teams fight for the bragging rights and their future in the sport. It’s time to pack up your car and head to the tailgate.

 

You are one of countless fans who make it a point to show just how loyal you are. The hours spent celebrating before the game set the mood that the team will carry with them throughout it. But the way you tailgate could define your go green mentality for the rest of the season.

 

When it comes to recycling on game day, it can be a challenge to make a difference. There are so many folks who don’t carry the same waste management mentality that you do. How can you counter their effect on the environment? Will your efforts even be worth it in the long run?

 

It’s a Scientific Fact

It’s a scientific fact, and really more of an obvious point to admit that large amounts of people in small spaces are going to generate copious amounts of trash. From the moment you pull out of your driveway to the time you’re exiting the stadium, you would be impressed at how much waste you’ve left behind.

 

When it comes to college football stadiums, this is a whole different ball game. The biggest stadiums can actually attract as much as 11,000 people. Without proper recycling protocols in place, this is a lot of trash taking over our landfills.

 

The EPA’s Game Day Challenge

This go green phenomenon hasn’t just sparked interest in Utah. As a matter of fact, the need for better waste management services has hit as far as the federal government. The EPA has decided to get involved in making college game days more recycling friendly.

 

The EPA’s Game Day challenge lets our schools compete in more than one area. The free partnership program assists schools with meeting their waste management and recycling goals. How it works is, your school officially signs up for the challenge. During one home game in the month of October, you design and implement a recycling strategy.

 

The results are calculated by measuring the amount of waste generated; the volume of glass recycling, metal recycling, and everything in between; and finally, it’s offset by how many people were actually in attendance.

 

When this challenge began in 2009, only 8 schools were participating. However, these 8 schools reduced their waste by 44,000 pounds. In 2010, the amount of involvement jumped to 88 schools, seeing the potential to have a cleaner environment, not to mention the bragging rights that go along with it.

 

In the year 2017, participants reduced their game day waste by 2.06 million pounds. This is broken down into 1.5 million pounds of bottles, plastic, and cardboard that were recycled. There was a total of 540,000 pounds of food waste composted. Finally, 2,400 metric tons of carbon emissions were removed from the air, thanks to an increase in available public transportation.

 

Winners are announced in the month of November, as you’re watching your team gear up for the championship games. Why not bring another trophy into your school? Allow that school pride to increase the amount you reduce, reuse and recycle.

 

How Can I Enjoy the Day Responsibly?

Perhaps your school isn’t one that’s sparked an interest in the game day challenge. Or maybe, on the other hand, they have, but recycling is only available in the stadium, leaving your tailgating spot hanging. It’s up to you to keep that go green mentality, as you look for ways to increase your glass recycling and metal recycling. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

 

It all begins with the amount of waste that you’re bringing to the tailgate with you. Like any good fan, you’re planning on firing up the grill and going all out with a barbeque. Try to do your prep work at home. Instead of carrying extra plastic wrappers and disposable bags, bring reusable Tupperware containers with you. These will last the entire season, and it will allow you to do the most important recycling from home. Not to mention, this will give you the extra time to marinate your burger meat—the other team’s fans will be jealous.

 

If you’re hanging out in an ill-equipped parking lot, it’s on you to keep up with your waste. Be sure to bring bins or bags with you. One can be dedicated to regular waste, while the other is meant for your recycling. Be sure that everyone who you’re celebrating with knows the difference. When you take this waste home with you, take it one step further by separating the glass and metal recycling, making it easier on your waste management company.

 

In the case that your school has gone above and beyond to prepare, take the time to find the proper waste bins. Many universities now carry brown, blue and green bins for your unique recycling needs. Do your best to plan ahead so you can utilize these.

 

As always, try your best to buy from companies that use compostable or recyclable packaging. This way, you can start improving your waste management from the moment you think about the game. Bring reusable utensils, plates and cups to further cut your waste.

The Solution

Across the state of Utah, we are known for being proud of our teams. Whether you’re wearing crimson red or royal blue, you want to show that you’re proud to be a fan. By planning ahead with a healthy recycling program, you can take this even further. Contact GreenThink today to get an idea of what we can do to help with your game day waste management. And above all: go, fight, and win.

 

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_Day_Recycling

http://www.recyclingtoday.com/article/2017-gameday-recycling-challenge-winners/

https://cleanriver.com/how-to-win-at-game-day-recycling/

3 Pillars to Better Recycling and Waste Reduction

proper recycling makes for a beautiful planet

As a society, we’re motivated to do more when it comes to the disposal of our waste. We want to become that nation that’s been pictured in movies: the sun is shining, we’re dealing with zero waste, we’re driving hover cars that run off the sun, and we’re enjoying the fruits of these efforts. But this change will only come when we increase recycling levels, instead of just talking about this change to our world.

 

Being able to make this major change comes with effort, and this effort is entirely dependent upon the three major pillars of recycling. These pillars are: policy changes, habits, and recycling systems. Between 80 and 90 percent of the waste that we create in this place we call home can be recycled—so it’s time to focus on this chunk of garbage and make better use of it.

 

What can you do on your part to push this effort further than we thought possible?

 

Push for Changes in POLICY

 

In the history of our nation, we have never once had a rule that applied to all waste and the reduction of this product. We leave this processing decision up to state and local governments, resulting in the fact that less than 20 percent of plastic is recycled properly in America.

 

Imagine a utopia where we work together. From country to country we have the same rules, or at least rules that cohesively work together to change the face of our planet. If we don’t follow these regulations for recycling, we’re punished or have to pay a fine. For once, our individual efforts are backed up and we work toward the idea of a clean planet. Finally we are kept on track with recycling rules.

 

Unfortunately, this idea of a utopia is far from the reality. We have bins that we’re supposed to organize our recycling into. But we haven’t been held to a standard until recently, which requires us to keep our recycling to China clean. So in the long run, what rules do we have to keep plastic waste from spreading around this beautiful world like a virus?

 

This isn’t a waste management problem that is unique to the United States; in fact, this is an issue that spreads across our world. India set regulations at the kind of packaging they wanted, but they don’t have the composting ability to uphold those changes.

 

Because we don’t have lobbying for recycling, politicians don’t typically feel obligated to do much. This is the wrong attitude—if people stopped asking for clean water because they thought they were safe, would the government stop providing it?

 

Take some time out of your day to write to your politicians. Encourage them to increase the levels of recycling through their waste management efforts. We have the power to halt this crisis.

 

Push for Changes in Your Habits

 

We mention this all the time, but the most common excuse for not recycling is that people don’t have time for it. This isn’t a malicious goal for someone to watch the world burn. It’s a simple reality that this idea of “go green” can feel like a burden.

 

We don’t blame someone for not making it to the gym, or simply not eating healthy enough. This is because we have the understanding that their habits don’t necessarily match up with their roles just yet.

 

When it comes to recycling, there are restaurants that want to reduce their waste. We have people in the community who are ready to improve their disposal habits. It’s on us not only to improve our recycling habits, but to also spread the knowledge to the people we care about most. There are minor changes that can be made on a daily basis, which would shoot our recycling levels way up.

 

The mentality to maintain when trying to improve our recycling system is, “We are one earth with one problem.” It’s up to us to keep this planet in a safe and happy place.

 

We can make small, informed choices that will better our community in the long run. When you go to work, don’t depend on the plastic bottles of water; instead, bring a reusable bottle that you can enjoy throughout the day. When you go to the store, don’t use the plastic bags for vegetables; you should bring mesh bags that work just as well, and won’t end up in a landfill.

 

Though encouraging these habits to better our recycling habits can seem like a chore, it’s really as simple as planning ahead.

 

Developing Better Sorting Systems

 

We’re living with a broken system. We’ve spent so much of our recycling energy into exporting this waste to China. Now that they’ve increased their recycling restrictions, we’re left wondering what to do next. If we had the proper waste management systems in place, this major change would only appear as a minor hiccup.

 

Because it has been entirely up to state and local governments to develop recycling programs, with no federal oversight, we’ve fallen into a dangerous pattern. In the western states, we rely heavily on landfills, which isn’t a problem due to our wide-open spaces. But when you look back east at places like Boston, Massachusetts, there is no place for this waste to go.

 

Now, it’s on us to increase the knowledge that will better our recycling rates. This means that sorting has jumped up into a first place priority, as far as “importance to recycling” goes.

 

At Green Think, we want to be in line with this change. We know that you don’t have the extra time to organize your trash while you’ve got a home to take care of, kids to pick up, and a family to feed. We want to do the sorting for you.

 

Our new sorting program makes your life easier by clearing out trash that would normally not be accepted into China, reducing the amount of waste management contamination, and reducing your footprint on this planet.

 

 

Do your part to make sure that our beautiful blue and green planet last for millions of years to come.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.planetexperts.com/our-plastic-world-policy-and-legislation/

http://business-ethics.com/2010/11/21/why-no-national-recycling-law-in-the-u-s/

 

What Will the Recycling Changes in China Do to Your Blue Bin?

landscape of china thanks to waste management

We will no longer be accepting “foreign garbage”.

 

Though these words sound like something that would be uttered during an adolescent quarrel, they were actually the words of a nation that’s become exhausted by their own efforts to clean up the world. The shifts that are being made halfway around the planet may soon show effects on our recycling processes.

 

You’ve probably met a dutiful Oregon resident who spends their time cleaning out their waste right down to the yogurt containers. Or maybe it was a mother who made special trips to return her plastic grocery bags. They sort their recycling in an effort to keep our landfills as empty as possible. This effort may soon be a waste, as what’s allowed to be in your blue bins will now be changing.

 

Here at Green Think, we hope to improve the go green mentality through our efforts, no matter the changes in the rest of the world.

 

The Old Process

 

The sixth largest import from the United States to China has been our waste. For years China would take the plastic depending on its ranking. These items were numbered one through seven. Something ranked at a one would be a dish soap bottle or a similar hard plastic. Ranking in at number two would be a milk jug, and so on through seven.

 

The second the recycling left your home and entered the waste management system, it started a journey that usually ended on the other side of the planet. It was the perfect cycle: we send the recycling to China, they turn it into products and packaging, and these products are sent back to us. But the world’s largest recycling importer says no more.

 

Since January, the waste has no longer been accepted, leaving many to question, “What’s next?” for Utah’s waste management (and even for China’s economy which has been so dependent on these go green systems).

 

The Basics of the Change

 

While China has decided to turn away most of the waste that’s directed to them, they are still accepting some hard plastics (think one and two on the scale). However, this is very restrictive, as they now have implemented a contamination ban of .5 percent.

 

This new rule means that if there’s more than .5 percent of waste that doesn’t belong—plastic wrap, light packaging, cardboard, etc.—then they will turn it away.

 

This powerful nation is making these changes in an effort to keep their home cleaner. By redirecting their waste management efforts, they can take care of pollution that has truly become an issue for them. If nothing else, this is a chance for us to really zero in on our own recycling efforts, and make sure that we take sorting seriously.

 

Changes in Both Our Economies

 

Though this rule has been in place since January, we haven’t quite started feeling the change until now. The hold up comes from the lack of a place to put this waste, and we don’t want it finding a home in our landfills.

 

It’s predicted that Oregon, California and Washington will be the places that bear the brunt of this decision, due to the fact that they’re old pros at the recycling game.

 

It’s also up in the air as to what China’s economy will look like. By taking in the world’s recycling, they have been able to reuse resources that would otherwise end up in the trash. With less need to create new items, it’s been purely profit. Their own consumption habits have placed them in what we would consider middle class consumption patterns.

 

The rest of the world will be watching anxiously to see what this means for the giant and if a negative outcome will shift this decision.

 

What Does This Mean for Utah?

 

If you’ve got a recycling program already in place, then you’re probably among one of the many Utahans who is on the “oops” program. Educational efforts have begun to improve sorting starting in your home. In fact, 27,000 fliers were printed and attached to garbage cans around the valley.

 

In the case that a waste management expert comes across things like cardboard pizza boxes, glass bottles or plastic bags in your bin, you get an “oops” tag. You have three strikes before your recycling bin is at risk of being taken away. This effort to increase sorting in the home, increases the chance of our recycling programs remaining economically viable in the state.

 

However, who has the time to sort through these items after a long day at work?

 

Let Green Think Sort for You

 

In an effort to combat this recycling contamination, we’ve decided to expand our services at Green Think. For a little extra cost on your part, we’ll not only collect your recycling, but we’ll also sort through it to guarantee that there are no slip ups or “oops” tags.

 

Because we see recycling as such a vital key to maintaining the health of our planet, we want to do whatever it takes to guarantee that your waste ends up being reused instead of sitting in a landfill for decades to come.

 

Contact us now to get an idea of what a sorting program can look like for your home and lifestyle.

 

A Wake Up Call

 

We can hope that this change in recycling exports will reduce the amount of waste we create, but that’s not likely to happen. However, we can make a change within our country. We’ve been depending on other nations and their recycling technology for far too long, burning fossil fuels to make our waste disappear. This only furthers the problem in another channel.

 

It’s time that our country finds a way to recycle all of our resources and bolster our own economy. The opportunity to become independent starts now. And at Green Think, we’re more than eager to watch these changes happen.

 

 

Sources:

https://fox13now.com/2018/07/17/utahns-impacted-by-recycling-changes-in-china/

https://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/recycling/blogs/soon-cant-ship-recycling-china-thats-problem
https://www.wastedive.com/news/what-chinese-import-policies-mean-for-all-50-states/510751/

How Many Times Can Recycled Items Be Recycled?

clock counting recycling time

Wet, wash, rinse and dry—you’ve done that routine so many times that you couldn’t even count it anymore. There are many parts of life that follow this kind of pattern. You get out of your car, pop the gas tank, put in your debit card and then fill it up. Unlock the car, get in, put on your seatbelt and then start it up. But as you’re finishing your drink, rinsing the bottle and tossing it into the recycling bin, what you’ve probably never considered is just how many times it can go through this waste management process.

 

Like most people, you’ve probably incorrectly believed that the items you toss into your recycling bin can go through the cycle indefinitely. Of course, like most people you’d be wrong. Don’t worry; there are many ins and outs of the waste management world that are hard to understand for anyone who’s not working in the industry.

 

By learning how often things can be recycled, we don’t really imagine that it’s going to make much of a change on your waste bin habits. However, when you know the items that won’t stand up to the test of time, you may begin to shop smarter by choosing items in responsible packaging.

 

We’re moving slowly down the recycling rabbit hole. We’ll show you the items in your home that can be recycled forever, and which items will hit a point when they can no longer be processed and need to find a home at a landfill.

 

The Plastic Numbers

 

Your kids beg you for it when you make a stop at the gas station, and it can be hard to say no when you’ve just survived the sun for a day. But as you pull that plastic bottle of water or soda pop off the shelf, you’ve condemned that item to a quicker death.

 

Plastic can only be recycled into new bottles one or two times. After this point, the item is then melted down into something else (like fabric). This process is called down-cycling, recycling’s cousin. Obviously you can’t just throw your old clothing into a recycling bin, which is the negative side to shifting plastic into this new form.

 

The issue with recycling plastic is that this is an item, which easily becomes cross-contaminated, thanks to its polymers. Because it leaves the items in such bad shape, you should only be more motivated to avoid purchasing plastic.

 

The Unlimited Life Cycle of Aluminum

 

Aluminum has done what we once thought absolutely impossible. Aluminum has found the secret to immortality. This item can be infinitely recycled.

 

There are estimates that suggest two-thirds of all aluminum that was ever made is still being used today. This means, you could be using the same aluminum that your grandmother once used as a child. Not only are you doing your part in taking care of the poor waste management system, you’re also reducing production costs for new items.

 

For a little extra incentive, some states will reward your recycling efforts with a little extra cash if you gather it up. This is typically done by weight, so get to collecting all things aluminum.

 

Paper Truths That Need to Be Told

 

Of all forms of recycling, paper can be the easiest to do. You find the bin that sits next to your office printer, throw it in, and don’t give it a second thought. However, recycling paper gets nearly as tricky as recycling plastics. This happens because every time the product is recycled, the quality is lowered.

 

As paper is made, the long fibers band together to get you a perfect, unsmudged sheet. Every time that these items go through the recycling process, the fibers are shortened. This means that paper can only be recycled into new paper between five to seven times, depending on the quality of the first product. When you consider the amount of paper that floats around school buildings or offices, that’s not very long of a life.

 

But all hope is not lost when it comes to responsible paper use. Just because the fibers are too short to be paper again, doesn’t mean it’s time to lay these bad boys to rest. Instead, this paper can be turned into a paper paste. This paste is then formed and reformed into things like egg cartons or newspapers.

 

Everlasting Joys of Metal

 

You’ll find that the world of metal recycling isn’t too different from that of aluminum recycling. This is because these cousins both share the possibility of infinite reuse, so long as they’re processed correctly.

 

The hitch that comes from recycling steel or copper is when the items aren’t sorted properly. If cross-contamination happens, the odds are that you’ll create an alloy. This batch of recycled metal can no longer be used.

 

But imagine the perfect world where everyone goes out of his or her way to gather up these items and turn them into something new. We could reduce the demand of needing new materials because we’d already have plenty of metal in circulation. This way, we wouldn’t need to damage mother Earth by continuing to mine for goods. Talk about the go green mindset.

 

Again, if you’d like a little extra cash, your local metal recycling joint will give you money for bringing these goods in. Always keep an eye out for the metals around your home that could be reused.

 

Be Choosey and Pick Glass

 

A commonly used item that you’ll throughout your local grocery store is glass—and glass just so happens to be the answer to our go green question. Like metal, this item can be recycled infinitely, so go the extra mile to sort out your glass bottles from the rest of your bin.

 

Glass is one of the items that is actually harder to create from scratch. Not to mention that it’s 33 percent more efficient to recycle glass than it is to create new glass. Next time you’re looking for something to wet your whistle, gravitate to the heavier packaging on the shelf.

Make Small Changes

 

We know you’re already putting forth a genuine effort to be better at your own waste management system. At Green Think, we believe that the disposal process should stick with you from the moment you’re deciding what to buy. Shop smarter and reduce your footprint on this little green planet of ours.

 

 

Sources:

https://earth911.com/business-policy/how-many-times-recycled/

https://recyclenation.com/2017/06/how-many-times-can-recyclables-be-recycled/

 

 

 

The Mystery Behind the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

recycling near the water

We’ve all thought about it. Whether it was a book, television series, a movie or even a video game that sparked the idea, we’ve seen a version of the post apocalyptic world—the Earth as it stands after a catastrophic event. The planet is no longer green and fruitful, with beautiful oceans that allow it to sustain life. All viable beings have been evacuated from the universe, and now robots are doing what they can to get rid of waste in hopes of making this rock a salvageable place.

 

It can be an absolutely terrifying concept that throws you into an existential crisis. However, when it comes to the reality of our current waste management system, it’s actually a feasible future. Here at Green Think Recycling, we spend a lot of time talking about how keeping the go green mindset will change our world. Why is it that we’re still so negative about the way our planet will end up?

 

Most people aren’t aware of the state of our oceans and just how careless we have treated mother nature. The buildup of waste is unimaginable. The most out there example of this is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. If you’ve never heard of it, you’re not the only one. As an embarrassment of immense magnitudes, this isn’t something that your local news station or classroom science textbook is going to brush up on.

 

This mass of trash is known around the world for its major size, thanks to our lack of recycling prowess. Of the five collections of waste in our oceans, this one holds the title as the biggest and it doesn’t appear to be changing any time soon.

 

What can you do to clear up the ocean as someone who is landlocked?

 

Breaking Past the Myths

 

We all know how proud Texans are of the fact that everything is bigger there. It’s one of the largest states in our country, and it can be hard to imagine crossing the entire state in one go. What about taking the trip all the way across to the east side and then coming all the way back to the west? If you think that might be a challenge, however, you’ll be surprised to hear that this great garbage patch sitting in our ocean is twice the size of this state—the equivalent of that extra long trip.

 

A breakdown of the waste management numbers tells us that this collection of garbage and what could be recycled material is actually a full 1.8 trillion pieces. The waste weighs 88,000 tons, the same as 500 jumbo jets. These numbers are 16 times higher than we had originally thought, shocking every kind of scientist there is.

 

If we don’t change our disposal efforts and incorporate serious recycling reform now, we’re going to find that the problem escalates to unimaginable proportions. Thanks to the 1.15 to 2.41 million tons of plastic that enter the oceans through rivers each year, and the wind and converging ocean currents, this trash has hit the perfect storm in which to continue collecting.

 

Its home between California and Hawaii make it impossible to see, and harder to believe that it exists. Much like climate change, this great garbage patch has vehement deniers. It’s hard for these folks to believe that the waste management crisis can be so bad without being broadcast on a large platform.

 

How the Research Was Performed

 

Unfortunately for the deniers, the most recent organized study would tell us that these numbers have been confirmed and denying them won’t help the recycling crisis.

 

Researching this mass of plastic used to mean dragging a net through the top layer to get an idea of what the waste looked like. Unfortunately, this skewed the results, as well as the depth of the problem. This was because the nets were really good at picking up small amounts of plastic but never the large pieces. In addition to that, they could only reach the top layer of rubbish.

 

As our waste management efforts have improved, so too have our research processes.

 

In 2015, a research lineup did what was once considered impossible for go green teams. They put together a squad of 30 boats and 652 nets. In addition to that, they set up two flights over the top of the mass to measure the size from an aerial perspective.

 

The difference with these nets was the fact that they were built as multi-level trawls. For the average person who has no idea about varieties of nets, this means that the tool was built to be able to reach 11 levels down. These nets pulled in over 1 million samples of plastic that litter the waters of our oceans. At this point in the process, it was time to get a better understanding of this waste.

 

Each piece of plastic was cleaned, counted and classified by size. Beyond that, these items were then scrutinized for what kind of toxicity they could bring to our environment.

 

After years of analyzing, understanding, and downright being upset at our lack of recycling efforts, this information was compiled into one comprehensive computer model. At this point, we finally have an idea of what’s going on with our most important resource: water.

 

Science fiction has been changed into science facts. Why should you be scared into improving your waste management efforts?

 

Looking Closer at the Waste

 

Despite the best recycling efforts, there has been no dent in the amount of waste that sits in our water. In fact, by using the data it is estimated that the plastic mass is the equivalent of 250 pieces of waste per every single human on this planet. This is, of course, only considering the potential recycling that sits on top of the water. What hasn’t been factored in are the items that lay on the ocean floor.

 

This ticking time bomb of a trash island presents an ever-present threat. We don’t want the mass to break down into smaller, unmanageable pieces of waste. Lack of proper disposal can have a serious threat on the food chain.

 

What is this waste already doing to our planet? It all starts in the marine environments.

 

What Is It Doing to Our Environment?

 

At the top of the disposal chain sits the large pieces of plastic. These are the first threat to our recycling procedures. These large items matter because they can and will break down into micro-plastic over time. This deterioration happens because of sun exposure, the waves of the ocean, marine life and the changes in temperature. Micro-plastics are often mistaken as food by animals that don’t have the critical thinking skills to know any better.

 

When animals mistake pieces of rubbish as food, it can result in an indirect malnutrition. This is true for all of marine life in the ocean. Without proper waste management systems, we’re leaving these animals with no hope for survival.

 

One major example of this is with sea turtles within the area of this Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Upon examination, these creatures have been shown to have up to 74 percent of their diet made up of plastic.

 

If they aren’t fooled into eating the garbage, these poor things will often end up tangled in the large items like nets. With no one to help these animals, they die.

 

Humans don’t get off the hook either. We can show measureable harm that for most people goes unnoticed. Small fish eat the plastic, and it makes its way up the food chain. What should have been simple recycling is now haunting this creature. A larger predator will then eat the small fish. Though the whole plastic won’t stay with these larger animals, they do hold onto chemicals. It slowly moves up the food chain, but humans end up with chemicals running through us, though we thought we were safe.

 

A Personal Responsibility

 

As frustrating as it is for the go green community, no one has taken responsibility for the trash yet. This is due to many factors, including lack of resources. But the biggest element affecting this waste management problem is that this trash doesn’t fall under anyone’s jurisdiction. Instead, these islands lay in international waters. The responsibility is passed on to privately funded groups who take the lead on the disposal of the waste.

 

Now you have an idea of what was meant by the post apocalyptic metaphor. What is the future going to look like if we have this much garbage casually hanging out in the open waters? Are these waters even going to exist 100 years from now?

 

We can do more than just hope. It’s up to every single one of us to guarantee that our waste doesn’t end up in the water. This means taking the extra time to prepare when heading out to local rivers or making a journey to the beach. As you spend time in these areas, you can go even further in your go green efforts by picking up any trash that you come across.

 

However you choose to improve your waste management efforts, it’s important that you just do it. Nothing can replace the help of the human hand, the search for “recycling center near me” and the good intentions that we all have.

 

 

Sources:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/science/2018/03/22/great-pacific-garbage-patch-grows/446405002/

https://www.theoceancleanup.com/great-pacific-garbage-patch/

 

 

Busting Open Recycling Myths

break away from recycling myths

We’ve all heard the one about how if you swallowed gum, it would stay in your system for seven years. The still waters of Bear Lake weren’t enough, so people concocted the idea of the Bear Lake monster. If you pull too many faces, you’re going to get stuck that way, which would be awful for your mother on picture day. When something is too ordinary, we humans have a way of taking it to the extreme and turning it extraordinary.

 

Rubbish is just that: rubbish. It’s uninteresting and hard to get even a little bit excited about, let alone get your child into. As with anything in life, people have gotten bored with recycling. Though some of these myths seem pretty standard, there are some that would blow your mind.

 

Of these waste management myths, how many have you fallen for? There’s no need to be ashamed. The disposal process changes year to year, making it challenging to keep up with. But the more you know, the easier it will be to recycle responsibly.

 

Myth #1: You Need to Thoroughly Clean the Items

 

You’ve probably watched your elderly mother or grandmother scrub the life out of the old pickle jar, remove the label, gather the cap in a separate pile and prepare the item before placing it inside her blue recycling bin. This is because there was a point in time when folks were told that items needed this kind of care before they could be sent away.

 

Do her a favor and let her know that she’s wasting her time. The way that waste management plants are set up now, the processing system allows for items to be cleaned as they go. While you’re helping out an employee by not leaving a bunch of laundry detergent inside of the carton, you’re doing unnecessary work for all other things.

 

When it comes to lids, these items don’t need to be left off like they once did. However, they do need to be processed correctly. This is because lids have different kinds of resin that don’t always blend. Employees can take care of this part at the waste management centers. Don’t waste your time.

 

Myth #2: Waste Will Break Down Naturally

 

This one is a major false. Many people throw the idea of recycling to the wind, because all waste will break down naturally. Sure that’s true, but most items aren’t going to break down and decompose in our lifetimes. Plastic, for instance, can take up to 450 years to break down and fade out of existence.

 

When you overwhelm a landfill with items like paper and plastic, it ruins the way that food is decomposing. This is because food needs oxygen to break down. If it’s packed into a small space with all other kinds of trash, it doesn’t get that and will instead be an ugly mark on our landscape for years to come.

 

Myth #3: Recycling and Trash Will End Up in the Same Place

 

If you shampoo and condition religiously every night only to find out that your shampoo and conditioner are the same product, you’d feel like you wasted hours of time. We don’t like to repeat ourselves. In the case that you carry the idea that trash and recycling end up in the same place, it may be hard to motivate yourself to care about sorting and paying to have these items taken away separately.

 

But don’t let yourself get angry at this idea just yet. When it comes to trash, your waste will end up in a landfill. When it comes to recycling, these items are taken to an entirely different sorting facility.

 

Feel free to ask questions about it locally to get the reassurance that you’re looking for. Contact your waste management companies and see what they have to say about where the items go and how long it takes to process them. It’s like they say, “knowledge is power.”

 

Myth #4: Doesn’t Recycling Use More Resources?

 

You may be one of the folks who has got it in your mind that recycling actually uses more resources than simply throwing an item away does. It’s not an uncommon thought, and when you really think about the process that these products go through—transport, washing, sorting, melting, rebuilding, redistributing—you might believe this one.

 

However, you’d be wrong. In the long run, reusing these items and finding a new life for them will cost less. This is because new items don’t need to be mined and produced. Think of it this way, money spent on landfills (no matter how many pennies) is a waste, because all it is, is a storage center.

 

If you’re concerned with the numbers, keep this one in mind: 84. This is because energy use is actually reduced by a full 84 percent when you recycle something.

 

Myth #5: Recycling Doesn’t Need to Be Sorted

 

This one is a major falsity that we have addressed in depth on another page of the recycling resources. By not sorting your recycling, you’re guaranteeing that your local center gets low recycling rates. You should always do your best to put your recycling in the proper channels to keep materials in high quality and optimal shape.

 

Myth #6: The Recycling Symbol Means Items Can Be Recycled

 

You’ve seen bottles or plastic grocery bags that have the recycling symbol emblazoned on them. If you’re like most people in the community, you could easily assume that this one means the item can and should be recycled.

 

However, this is not always the case. The symbol is actually a sign that the item was made from recycled materials. If you put a plastic bag in your blue waste management bin, you’re actually dooming the facility that your items are sent to. This is because bags like these can end up in the cogs, which can cause the machines to break down.

 

If you’re not sure, try to find further recycling resources online. Putting something in your single stream bin that shouldn’t be there will only waste more resources in the long run.

 

Myth #7: We Can’t Overcome Public Disinterest

 

One of the biggest recycling myths that has been shared between generations is that people won’t care enough to recycle. It’s hard to get excited about, that’s no lie. But having clear signage and available bins in public areas have proven time and time again that recycling is something we all want to take part in, just as long as we’re presented the opportunity.

 

 

Sources:

https://www.ovoenergy.com/blog/green/five-waste-myths-busted.html

https://recycle.com/busting-plastic-recycling-myths/

https://www.roadrunnerwm.com/recycling-myths-busted/

 

Going Green While Camping

recycling while camping

The days are growing longer and your kids are back home 24/7. You’re going crazy looking for things to keep them busy and out of your hair. You have already tasked them with pulling all the weeds in the yard, sorting through your recycling and running laps outside. It’s time to think outside of the box, or rather, outside of the city. It’s time to take your family camping.

 

You’re going out into the wilderness and getting in touch once more with your wild roots—not to mention, hopefully running out your children’s energy. However, because you’re only human, you’re going to run into one major issue: how to handle your waste.

 

Modern technologies have made it so that we don’t have to entirely live off the land, even when we choose to think green. But this doesn’t mean that your family vacation should be any less eco-friendly.

 

Here at Green Think Recycling, we want to remind you to make your minimal impact on the world. Do what it takes to camp sustainably. You can still enjoy your summer while thinking of your impact on things much larger than you.

 

Read on to learn what it takes to, “be a champ, recycle when you camp.”

 

Why Teach Your Kids?

 

You’ve made it a priority to recycle in your home. If you’ve gone the extra mile, you’ve got a bin for plastics, paper and clean cardboard, and you’ve also got one for glass recycling. If you keep these bins as only a focus in your home, you’re doing your family a disservice because they aren’t keeping recycling in their minds on a daily basis.

 

Utah is known for the gorgeous backdrop that the mountains create. We’ve got a beautiful valley that leaves most tourists wondering how to get back here. Every single person in this state needs to hold onto the recycling mentality, regardless of what they’re doing.

 

Why teach your children to recycle outside of the home? It’s something free that serves a greater purpose. You teach your children to be charitable and give a smile to those who are having a hard day—why not apply the same principle to the way we treat the planet?

 

If you plan ahead, it’s something that’s easy to do. Help keep nature clean of unwanted trash and ready to be enjoyed by anyone who decides to venture outdoors. (And if you get to your campsite only to find there’s already trash, take the time to clean it up as a family.)

 

Choose Quality Equipment

 

Recycling while you’re camping comes way before you even make your trip. Whether it’s a single overnight trip or a weeklong backpacking excursion, it all starts with the equipment. When you choose to think green, you’re choosing to think smart about the items you use on a daily basis.

 

When you’re keeping that think green mentality with you, it means you need to pick high quality, long lasting equipment. One of the best things you can do for the beautiful Utah wild lands is to stay away from products that have BPA and instead use those made from recycled materials.

 

This is absolutely vital when it comes to your tent. This handy shelter is your home for the trip, but you need to make the extra effort when it comes to the wild home you’re in. Be sure that the tent does not have any toxic dyes, especially if there’s rain predicted in your forecast. This way, the environment will be safe—and you will be able to recycle this product when you’re done with it.

 

As if that weren’t enough, the world of innovation never stops. When you’re preparing your family for their long trip out, recycling shouldn’t be the only thing on your mind. You need to decide what kind of campers you’re going to be: the rough it type or the glamping clan?

 

Solar tents are the newest form of using technology, but doing it well. Solar fabric catches energy that emanates from the sun. This way, you can enjoy all of your modern conveniences in the beauty of nature without the need for generators or toxic gas.

 

And finally, you could always bring plenty of plastic bottles, cups, plates and paper napkins. I mean, you’ll be recycling these items as soon as you get home. But the think green mentality means you need to consider the impact that these items have from beginning to end. Consider refillable water bottles and camping dinnerware. This reduces the necessity for the mass production of waste that would just end up in a landfill. Just be sure to bring biodegradable soap that won’t harm the planet.

 

Break free of your disposal mindset, and welcome to the land of recycling.

 

It Starts at Home

 

This isn’t the kind of “starts at home” that we talked about before. Your children know the importance of recycling already. This kind of preparing is to reduce the amount of packing when you’re still within reach of your recycling bins.

 

For instance, you want your kids to have an easy breakfast after a night under the stars. The simple solution is a bowl of cereal. However, we’ve all seen the unnecessary packaging that this product comes in—half the box is filled with air, for goodness sake. Do yourself a favor and move the cereal into small, compact, reusable Tupperware before you even set out. This way, you won’t have to focus much brainpower on recycling and can instead put it toward beating your family at a game of Monopoly.

 

When you’re doing the grocery shopping for this trip, remember to think green. It can be tempting to buy a box of fun sized chip bags. This way everyone gets their favorite flavor and you don’t have to deal with arguments. However, you’re increasing your waste with something that doesn’t even belong in the recycling bin. Buy a few large bags, put them in tough packaging instead and you’ll find that you don’t have to deal with chips getting crunched—another think green win.

 

Finally, reduce your waste by getting your food ready while you’re still at home. You want your kids to eat well, and this means sneaking vegetables in to their hobo dinners. But when you bring packages of vegetables up with you, you’re also bringing unnecessary bags that would be better off at home in your recycling bin. Chop up these veggies in your kitchen, move your meat into reusable containers, and you’ll find that you’ve reduced your waste and tricked your kids because they never saw the vegetables coming.

 

You need to take the steps toward recycling smart by simply recycling less. Before you start your journey into the mountains, you have now set yourself up for unlimited success.

 

Start Your Trip the Right Way

 

By now you’ve probably realized the theme we have going. It’s all about preparation. When you’ve got a think green game plan, and you’ve shared that with your family, you’re ready to take on anything.

 

While you set up camp, be sure you also choose a place for the waste and recycling bins to go. Do it the sustainable way by bringing a reusable cloth bag for your trash. You’re going to bring it home with you anyway, so do it in style. Of course, keep in mind that your trash needs to move to a safe place during the night, so as to keep animals away from your family’s home away from home.

 

Think green doesn’t have to only do with the way you manage your waste. You also need to think of the way you’re treating the environment. We’re so used to navigating the concrete jungle that we don’t recognize the way we stomp around.

 

Wear soft-soled shoes and remember to tread lightly. By not damaging the plants that came before you, you’re not only in the think green mindset, but you’re also leaving nature wild and untamed—the way that it should be.

 

Keep on Top of Your Recycling as You Stay

 

There is nothing better after a long day of setting up camp and playing in the lake than a nice, big campfire. No matter how long your family chooses to stay, your recycling is going to play a major role here.

 

It’s your chance to educate your family on what can be put in the recycling bin, and what would be better off being reused while out here in the heart of nature. This means that you need to teach your family about what can be burned. There are some recycling items that are not safe for the planet when burned. This includes things made of plastic. On the other hand, if you’ve got plenty of cardboard, paper, match sticks, toothpicks and dead wood, you’ve got the perfect heart of a fire.

 

This means you need to bring an extra bin, aside from the waste and recycling bins. You need a burn-ables bin. This is the fun part where you’ve turned your recycling into upcycling. As any responsible family, you need to make sure that it’s allowed before you start any fires. If you’re living in a dry part of the state, or if you’re out in the hottest, driest part of the summer, save these burn-ables for another time.

 

After your stay, give the campsite feedback on the recycling process. Did you find it easy to maintain your think green mindset? What kind of things could they do to make this easier to maintain?

 

By doing your part, you’ve made the Utah wild lands a better place, and hopefully simultaneously ran your children’s energy out for the next couple of weeks (a parent can dream, right?).

 

 

Sources:

https://www.conserve-energy-future.com/impressive-tips-for-going-green-while-camping.php

https://frogmom.com/recycling-tips-for-camping-trips/

 

Bring Recycling to Life: Coolest Items Made From Reused Materials

Get motivated to Recycle by learning where it can end up

Reduce, reuse and recycle. These three words have been around since the creation of waste. When you come across them, you probably imagine the way that a box of papers can be melted down and turned into new notebooks or how collections of plastic bottles can be turned into shopping bags.

 

These forms of waste management are the furthest from inspiring—in fact, some may consider them commonplace or boring. As you consider making the choice to go green in everything you do, it may take a little something more to light your fire.

 

Take some time to dive into the hidden world of recycling, a place that you would never venture unless you worked there. You’ll find some incredible, unimaginable things that once lived an entirely different life. You’ll probably be surprised to find that some of the things that decorate the walls of your home are counted among these treasures.

 

The Common Misconceptions

 

We’re living in a world of waste. With 7.6 billion people on the face of the planet, that’s a lot of trash to take care of and not a lot of places to put it. That’s not a unique thought, but something that many folks never consider.

 

However, it gets more surprising when you put numbers to the amount of waste. The world as a whole produces 1.3 billion tons of waste each year. At the rate of growth we’re experiencing, in 80 years the amount of waste could bounce up to more than 4 billion tons annually. What kind of waste management system is equipped to deal with that?

 

Unfortunately, for those trying to do the environment good nearly ¾ of plastic bottles still end up in landfills, not to mention the amounts floating in the oceans. Thinking green isn’t something that only a few good people can do to fix everything. It takes a team effort from the billions of people across the planet.

 

Find Ways to Get Inspired

 

Something old and something new — most things that are recycled become exactly what you imagine they will. You weren’t wrong when you imagined that old paper becomes new paper and aluminum will be shaped into soda cans. The process can be pretty straightforward; that is, until you bring creative people into the mix.

 

If you don’t work in the industry, you truly have no idea the magic that can go on behind closed doors. One man’s trash will truly be another man’s treasure with enough hard work.

 

Dig deeper into this blog to scratch the surface of what thoughtful waste management can do to your trash.

 

The Most Basic Items

 

Some items come together as a hodge podge of other things. These aren’t the most colorful or imaginative items to spark that fire, but they are a start.

 

For instance, though you walk on it daily you may never have thought about how asphalt is made or what it’s made of. Asphalt typically comes from things like the rubber of tires or roof shingles. The recycling process is pretty simple, in that they break down the old items and mash them into something brand new.

 

The same can be said for bricks. Though they surround your home, have you ever considered what’s inside of them? Much like asphalt, these building blocks are the “hotdogs” of recycled items (meaning they are put together from countless odds and ends). Take a closer look and you may find yourself face to face with all kinds of pieces of glass — cups, bottles and dishes — that catch a beautiful glimmer in the sunlight.

 

If you’re recycling old paper, you may in fact be contributing to someone’s new cat litter. As far-fetched as it may seem, this form of recycling can be a breath of relief for anyone who suffers from allergies that traditional cat litter can bring. Paper litter produces less dust and is more economical, which is a win on all sides.

 

Finally, when you stare into your closet picking your outfit for the day, you may as well be looking into a recycling bin. Many clothing brands have worked discarded plastic fibers into some of their synthetic clothing (clothing that includes workout clothes). These outfits can be some of the softest that you own.

 

The Out There Gear

 

Speaking of clothing, as she marched down the red carpet Emma Watson let her fans know that one of her recent dresses was made from three fabrics built out of recycled plastic—talk about think green. This was the perfect opportunity to let her fans know that they should look for clothing that they can wear at least 30 times to reduce waste; and what a way to inspire another generation to improve their waste management efforts.

 

There is a company in North Carolina that breaks plastic down into pebbles, elevating their own recycling. The pebbles are then processed and turned into yarn. This yarn is given an incredible new life, and it is brought with you to some of the most important days you’ll have. No, you’re not expected to carry this yarn, it’s actually formed into graduation gowns. This yarn is made into graduation gowns. Talk about “think green”.

 

Recycling can also feel counterintuitive. For example, you use your toothbrush to get a good clean after breakfast. Depending on the brand you purchase, your toothbrush may actually have a handle that was made from old yogurt cups. As odd as it sounds, this is totally sanitary.

 

If you visit the right online store, you may come across an FM radio made from recycled cardboard. Yes, you read that right, a cardboard radio. Batteries and an antenna power this machine. When you’ve gotten all the joy out of it that you can, you can even put the radio right back into the recycling bin, bringing waste management full circle once more.

 

Then we have the everyday items that have been brought back to life in less subtle ways. There are the records that get turned into bowls. They are melted down and shaped around traditional glass. After they’ve cooled and the bottom has been closed, they can be decorative for the music lover or just a cool way to enjoy your oatmeal.

Major league baseball bats can get turned into bottle openers. This practice is perfect for the sports lover. Each opener is printed with serial numbers that point out what game they were from and who used them.

 

Even the playgrounds that line our schools, which are constantly inhabited by the youngest in our generation, get built out of recycled milk jugs and rubber tires. What a perfect opportunity to share the importance of recycling. There is no shortage of creativity.

 

Saving the World a Day at a Time

 

Some companies have taken it upon themselves to change the world in leaps and bounds that the average person can’t make. Adidas recently announced that they would turn 11 million plastic water bottles into 1 million sneakers—what an impressive way to go green.

 

Year over year Ford continues to increase the amount of recycled materials that go into their cars. As a company, they have made it clear that responsible waste management is important to them. Countless companies are getting on board and turning up their recycling efforts.

 

Now that you understand a minor part of the astonishing side of recycling, it’s time to do your part and go green. Pull out your phone and do a quick search for a recycling center near you to get involved. Little by little, we can take care of this planet and make it better for the people to come.

 

 

Sources:

https://www.lrsrecycles.com/something-old-something-new-10-surprising-products-made-from-recycled-materials/

https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/recycled-plastic-10-cool-products/

http://mentalfloss.com/article/50227/13-products-made-using-recycled-materials

http://mentalfloss.com/article/71088/15-surprising-things-are-made-recycled-materials

 

Bringing Recycling Into Your Workplace

Recycling at work is easy

It’s where you spend most of your time. If you’re like many people and you feel like you’re in a rush during the mornings, there’s a good chance that you eat two out of three meals there. You decorate your desk to help it feel like home and most of your friends come from this place. The importance of a good work place has never been more obvious.

 

But there’s so much more to a good work place than that. If you’re going to spend most of your adult life in the work force, you’ve got to make it count outside of the career and company. You’ve got to take the time to improve things like your waste management efforts in the office.

 

If you’re lucky, you’re already in a place that has put a true value to the idea, “think green”. In fact, some states have put laws in place that encourage businesses to go green. They go out of their way to reward employees who drive sustainable vehicles or use public transit. But if your office isn’t there yet, it’s up to you to spark that fire and spread the think green mindset.

 

Welcome to square one. It’s time to dig deep and begin to think of ways that you can help improve the waste management efforts for everyone at work.

 

Where Do You Begin?

 

It all starts with an idea. Perhaps you’ve already searched, “Where can I find a recycling center near me?” on your phone. You’ve got the blue bin, the compost bin and even a separate receptacle for your glass bottles. Take that waste management motivation and bring it into the office with you.

 

Sit down with your boss, even just for a minute, and let them know statistics about the money that can be saved when you’ve got a great recycling program. Numbers will help drive their interest, and give your go green effort more validity.

 

If you can tell that your boss is onboard with the idea of recycling, it’s time to suggest the pros. Many companies actually have a program where they send a waste management professional into your office to do an audit. They take a look at weak spots in your current program and give you an estimate of how much extra money you could have in your budget if you only put in that recycling effort.

 

It won’t take long before your boss understands that recycling is less expensive than disposal services. Less trash means less upkeep on the disposal side, which means less money for them. Now that you’ve got him onboard, you can suggest the idea that some is in charge of the recycling program.

 

These waste management programs, no matter how strong they are, take constant education and effort. The businesses that find success in this area typically hire someone or promote someone within whose extra task is to keep the education effort going. Whether it’s a monthly meeting or a yearly effort, this person needs to keep the excitement going through creative and innovative suggestions.

 

Not to mention, taking ownership of this kind of initiative will look great on your resume if you ever decide to make a change in your career path.

 

Best Kinds of Training

 

It’s a pretty straightforward idea that a great recycling program’s success depends on the participation, continued education and coordination in the office. This is where you, the new recycling coordinator, come in.

 

Your first task can seem a little out there, but it’s time to take a look into trash bins to get an idea of how much paper and plastic are simply being thrown out. Give people an idea of how many unnecessary items are coming out of your workspace. This can mean taking the recyclables out of the trash and putting them into one large bag. During your first education session, you can give a great visual for the people who are a little more skeptical.

 

Be sure to start small with your waste management program. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and kill the idea entirely before it’s even in motion.

 

As you simply explain the efforts that will be made around the office, try to make recycling fun. You can start with creative posters that can be put up around major waste spaces in the office. These can be jokes that get hung around the copy machine or a how to poster that goes near the garbage can.

 

When your team is a little more motivated to go green, it’s time to bring out the big guns. Everyone likes a friendly competition, and this one is going to take a little more coordination on your part. Divide the office into teams and see who can reduce their waste the most. This means that they need individual cans for each area.

 

Come together at the end of the week and compare the amount of recycling they each gathered. Try to talk your boss into a big reward, whether that means that the winning team gets to go out to lunch or they get some extra paid time off.

 

Always keep in mind that recycling efforts can’t be a one-time thing. You’ll need to host many meetings to keep people aware and thinking green. Figure out how often you can or you need to get everyone together. If you’re struggling to keep everyone exciting, be sure to remind them that reducing waste will create a more efficient office for everyone.

 

It Starts With Consumption

 

A major area that many workplaces have comes from their consumption. This can happen in the kitchen when the person in charge of stocking dishes and cookware decides that plastic is preferable. It’s a common mistake that people make. You don’t want to deal with dirty dishes that nobody wants to wash. Why not go disposable?

 

This can also happen in places like by the printer. The wrong sheet of paper gets printed 273 times, so somebody tosses them to hide there embarrassment, without considering what it might mean for the waste management system.

 

It’s up to you to purchase with waste prevention in mind. You may not be in charge of what gets brought into the office, but you can coordinate with the person who does handle that task. Find a way to make reusable dishes work.

 

Take the extra time to figure out the major waste spots in the office. For most places, this is unsurprisingly by the printer. Establish a system that encourages double sided printing and reducing recycling waste.

 

Depending on how creative you are, try to reuse items in your office in unique ways. If someone is getting rid of cardboard boxes, show how they can be used as storage. Take that two liter bottle, cut it in half and turn it into a vase for some bright flowers. By putting these items on display, the importance of recycling is never too far away.

 

If you get the green light, take it a step further and develop a compost plan. Countless office spaces see a large amount of waste coming from lunch or catered meals that could instead help the environment. Whatever you choose to do with your waste management efforts, always do your best to keep it from sounding condescending. You want everyone to feel like they’re a major part of this important go green plan.

 

Removal in Two Ways

 

The importance of removal comes in different ways. You’ve already learned the importance of removing unhealthy consumption habits that have been commonplace up to this point in time. I mean, who really considered the effects of wasting too much paper. But at this point, what more can you do?

 

This one is going to cause a little more disruption, so you’ve got to be ready for pushback. You’ll need all the support you can get. It’s time to remove individual garbage cans from the office space.

 

If someone has to choose between throwing away recyclables in their own bin or instead getting up and putting them in the proper blue bin, there’s a good chance that they won’t want to disrupt their work flow for a recycling effort. It isn’t a malicious thing, rather an efficiency thing. Make it so they need to get up and sort it into the correct bin.

 

As an added bonus, we all know that sitting is the new smoking, so the extra exercise when moving back and forth to the trash cans will be a great thing.

 

Then comes the second form of removal—removal of recycling from the office. If you find yourself working in a large complex with many other offices in the space, you’ve got a golden opportunity. Coordinate your reduce, reuse and recycle efforts with these other people.

 

If you take the time to team up, you’ll actually find that your waste management program is more cost effective than you could have pictured. Combine your programs for one single cost and split it between the two of you. You’ll both be saving money, so it’s a win-win.

 

Continued Motivation

 

People like to work with companies who share their values or have high standards and morals. When it comes to saving the planet, this idea has never been more important than it is to the millennial generation. Do your best to keep your waste management program fun so that recycling doesn’t feel like a chore.

 

You’ll have something to be proud of when you realize just how much good you’re doing for the world and for your space. Go green for the greater good.

 

 

Sources:

http://thinkinggreen.wm.com/insights/6-steps-better-recycling-at-work/

https://www.sustainablebusinesstoolkit.com/top-7-office-recycling-tips/

https://business.officedepot.com/a/content/articles/recycleatwork/?cm_sp=greener-articles-fun_ways-to_get_employees_to_recycle_at_work