In recent years, a lot of focus has been on the environment. We’ve seen the rise in popularity of eco-friendly products. Most notable of all is the stress on recycling, with nearly every home having their own set of mini wheelie bins to segregate their trash.
But there has been a lot of talk about how recycling isn’t as beneficial as they say it is. China stopped taking in recycling materials from the US, Australia & other countries due to concerns over pollution.
Why is recycling so hard? Why aren’t we reaping the alleged benefits? And what do we do?
Cross contaminated materials
The main reason recycling fails in its mission to eliminate waste is contamination. There are non-biodegradable substances that get mixed in with otherwise organic & reusable materials.
Newspapers and other material made with paper are common in home recycling bins. Did you know that pizza boxes are not eligible for recycling if it’s covered with grease though? The oils & other food stains can’t be separated from the box, which in turn can’t be included when making recycled paper.
Speaking of food particles, misplaced refuse also causes problems. Some people are too lazy to throw their trash into the appropriate mini wheelie bins. That, or they confuse “biodegradable” stuff to trash that’s best for a compost pit. Consumables and other materials that spoil or rot easily are to be thrown separately from recyclable items. See more at EcoBin
Or sometimes organic items are thrown for composting, inside containers made from plastic and polystyrene. Non-biodegradable items that fill up space in the bin and the landfill.
Why does this matter? Contamination that happens in multiple home recycling bins all add up to make a big bath of trash that gets sent to the landfill. Since all garbage are collected before being taken to a processing plant, cross contaminants may spread all over a big batch of materials that becomes unusable.
Start recycling by learning at the beginning
How do we fix this? The short answer is, we don’t know yet. Some studies and experiments are being done right now to find a good answer. But none has proposed a complete, implementable and cost-effective solution to prevent contamination of recyclable materials.
If we can’t be part of the solution, then we must find a way not to be a part of the problem.
We stress on recycle, but public consciousness gloss over trash reduction and item reuse. Opt for containers that are reusable multiple times. Forgo plastic bags as much as possible. And choose products that have a minimal amount of packaging to reduce items that go into any recycling bin home and schools have.
Educate everyone on what trash goes to which garbage container. Try to make sure that everyone understands what goes to bio-degradable, bio hazard, non-biodegradables and compost bins.
Reduction of contamination is the key here. Food may be organic but that doesn’t mean it goes into the bio-degradable recycling bins for school. Try to fit the proper options for common situations and which recycling bins for school classrooms to choose.
We still have a long way to go for a fully sustainable, 100% ecologically-friendly recycling scheme. That doesn’t mean we need to stop doing it. And neither does it mean that we sit on solutions we can do today while waiting for the solutions of tomorrow.
Need proper containers for your garbage? Whether it be eco-friendly bags or mini wheelie bins. you can get those online! Visit https://www.ecobin.com.au/product-category/products/desktop-mini-bins/ for more info.