2 Recycling Mistakes

February 8, 2008 at 4:10 pm Leave a comment

I just got back from a tour of our Materials Recycling Facility (a.k.a. the MRF). Basically, this is the place where all of your stuff comes to get sorted further, baled, and shipped to purchasers. (see slide show below) Every time I give a tour there are two tidbits that people always say “I never knew that!” So here are the 2 biggest mistakes we see and how to fix them so you, too can be a recycling rock star.

Number 1: No Plastic Bags!


Not big ones, not small ones, not medium sized ones! These can break our machines and take a lot of time to sort out.

Just the facts ma’am:
• Plastic bags are usually made out of #2 (high-density polyethylene film – HDPE) or #4 (low density or linear-low density polyethylene film – LDPE/LLDPE) plastics. They can be remade into other plastic bags, liners, or even plastic furniture!
• US annual plastic bag consumption requires an estimated 12 Million barrels of oil (Wall Street Journal)
• In 2001, Ireland used 1.2 billion disposable plastic bags, or 316 per person. An extremely successful plastic bag tax, or PlasTax introduced in 2002 reduced consumption by 90%. (reusablebags.com)
• Windblown plastic bags are so prevalent in Africa that a cottage industry has sprung up in harvesting them and using them to weave hats and bags. According to BBC Online, one group harvests 30,000 per month. (reusablebags.com)
Instead: Reuse – Get a nice, sturdy canvas bag. The world goes through 500,000,000,000 to 1,000,000,000,000 bags a year! China even outlawed these flimsy one-use wastes of petroleum. Why make more waste than you need to?
Second Best: Many area stores will recycle them for you. Drop them off at Kohls, Pick N’ Save, or Wal-Mart. A local resource is also Protect the Planet (Phone: (262) 896-9094) and they are a non-profit that provides job training.
Want more information?
Visit www.reusablebags.com for facts and to purchase reusable bags.
Visit www.flipandtumble.com to purchase reusable bags that fold into themselves to be the size of a tennis ball!

Number 2: No Plastic Lids!


They are the wrong plastic (usually #5 or #7) and they pose a safety risk. If they are left on the bottle and a huge front end loader drives over the bottle they can fly off, almost beaming your trusty tour guide in the head (true story!)

Just the facts ma’am:
• Making bottles uses 1.5 Million barrels of oil annually, enough to fuel 100,000 cars a year (Resource Recycling June 2007)
• The next time you say “coca-cola” in the one second it took you to say it, 200 plastic bottles were dumped in landfills in the US – over 6 billion a year – all at the taxpayers expense
• If major soft drink and bottled water manufacturers switched to 25% recycled bottles, profits would differ by 1/10th of a cent per bottle.
Instead: Reuse – Get a nice, steel mug. The United States goes through 3,250,000 water bottles every HOUR! Why make more waste than you need to?
Second Best: Throw the lids in the trash.
Want more information?
Visit The Oprah Show’s Website on a show she aired about being green.

recycle more,
Recycle Raccoon


Entry filed under: Little Action, Recycling, Reduce & Reuse, Shopping. Tags: , , .

Local Legalities Luck o’ the Irish

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