Yesterday, 71,511 people had signed the #BeRecycled pledge, committing themselves to reducing household waste and recycling more. Today, I did the same!
The current recycling rate in the United States is a mere 34%. This means that more than two thirds of all recyclables produced in the States are being unnecessarily tossed in the landfill, with no eventual breakdown in sight.
Are you surprised? I was. But then I considered how often I am inclined to toss (rather than recycle) whatever I deem worthless. The recycling bin doesn’t even cross my mind!
Truth is, we’ve been conditioned to behave with what I like to call a “disposable mindset.” That junk mail you just pulled out of the mailbox? Trash. The cardboard sleeve on your Starbucks cup? Trash. That empty plastic water bottle you bought at the gym? Trash.
Everything I listed above could have been given a new life if it had only been put in the blue bin instead. However, a lack of public recycling bins, paired with a cultural bent toward consumerism and short-term thinking means we’re more likely to go for the trash. I think we can do better.
How to Practice Good Recycling
1) Take the #BeRecycled pledge and commit to recycling more.
Tens of thousands of Americans are committing themselves to reducing household waste and recycling more. Join in by taking the pledge yourself (link here!), buying products made from recycled content, and encouraging those around you to do the same!
2) Get to know your local recycling program.
If you live in a city of any real size, you should have recycling programs available to you. Look up your local solid waste authority, get to know exactly which materials they can accept (plastic, plastic film, paper, glass, steel, aluminum), then start recycling.
Read More: How to Recycle Correctly
3) Make recycling as convenient as possible.
The more convenient it is to recycle at home, the more likely you are to follow through. Place recycling bins where you will see them and use them! Some great options include: by the trash can, at the front door or in a closet you regularly frequent. Mine is in our cleaning closet.
On Pinterest: ZERO WASTE // compost & recycle
4) Participate in a Keep America Beautiful recycling program.
Keep America Beautiful (the genius behind the #BeRecycled pledge) also offers a number of programs and resources designed to make recycling easier at home and at work.
Here are a few of my favorites:
RecycleMania – Raise awareness about waste reduction and benchmark against other schools!
Recycle Bowl – Engage students in reducing, reusing and recycling.
Super Sorter – See how recycled materials can be transformed into new, exciting and useful things.
How do you recycle? What’s your secret?