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.