Wishful Recyclers- When going green goes bad/ Jackie’s Top Ten Guide for Going Green Effectively

The First Alternative Coop in Southtown Corvallis quit accepting any plastics at their recycling center.  Turns out China is halting the import of plastics that are melted down to make new plastic stuff because of the negative environmental impact.  Good for you China; looks like we have to start keeping our trash on this side of the ocean again.

I had been religiously saving my soft plastic (films, bags, collapsed packing pillows) and hard plastic that was not accepted in the comingle bin.  All my hard plastic had to go into the trash, filling up our tiny trash can.  But there is hope!

Republic Services here in Corvallis accepts clean stretchy soft plastic at their recycle depot.  They accept all kinds of stuff at the recycle depot including batteries, automotive oil, and electronics.

If you, your company, and/or your employees care about recycling.  Educate yourself so you do not become a Wishful Recycler.  A Wishful Recycler puts everything they hope to be recycled into the recycle bin and wishes that somewhere down the line someone will care enough to make sure it’s recycled.

This does not work.  In fact, by being a Wishful Recycler, you are increasing the trash that heads to the landfill because your trash is mixed in with the good recycling.  Its business folks!  And if too much sorting through trash is necessary to recycle a load, they will trash it instead.  They have to.  Otherwise they would go out of business and nothing would get recycled.

Here is Jackie’s Guide to what you can do to make the world a better place effectively:

1. Let go of the “All or Nothing” mentality.  Mathematically speaking if everyone did a little it would be a lot.

2. Educate yourself and your employees so everyone knows what goes into the recycle bin.

3. Ensure the people doing cleaning in your office actually put the recycling in the right bins.  You would be surprised how often the cleaning people just trash it all.  Give them a reason to care.

4. Go green in other ways.  Here is a guide from the U.S. Small Business Administration to give you ideas.

5. Think about how you can reduce the plastic in your life.  Leave packaging at the store.  Use any bag-like-vessel as a trash bag so you are not buying new plastic to put your trash in.

Pet food bags, kitty litter bags, bags your new stuff comes wrapped in, disposable shopping bags, potato chip bags, anything that can hold stuff.  Instead of putting it in the trash empty – fill it first.  We have not purchased a plastic trash liner at my house in over 3 years.

6. Reuse whenever possible.  Here is the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition Guide.  Google resources like this in your area.

7. Hang a clothes line, walk when it’s close, turn your car off when you are waiting for a train.  The options are virtually endless for ways to have a positive impact.

8. Buy less often because you want it, and more often when you need it.

9. This is a big one… Ensure the children in your life learn about recycling and other green practices.

10.  Do not be a Wishful Recycler.  The sorters are sending you bad vibes and you may cause my carefully sorted stuff to end up in the landfill because it gets associated with your trash.

Go forth and be green (effectively.)

Visit Republic Services for more information about correct recycling.