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  1. #1
    bisous is online now Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    Default Talk to me about recycliing? How can we be effective now?

    I've been hearing some about how China is no longer taking our recyclables and more and more things are ending up in landfills. I heard an expert on NPR talk about how really shipping containers of plastic across the ocean to China MIGHT not be the best thing for the earth anyway (although I think he said paper is neutral and metal is still an environmental gain). I want to know how I can do my part to be better at recycling. Will it matter if I rinse out my recyclables and am uber careful to make sure I separate it properly? I know the best thing to do is to consume less. But apart from that, what are the new recommendations? Where are you going for information about this? I say this as I'm carrying my recyclables out to the bin and wondering if I'm doing any good at all...

    TIA!

  2. #2
    SnuggleBuggles is online now Black Diamond level (25,000+ posts)
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    The slogan is reduce, reuse, recycle. It's actually an order of operations. First thing to do is reduce the amount of items you consume that have to be disposed of. 2nd, reuse items whenever you can. If you can't do those then recycle. But, once you get to the recycle point our borough makes monthly pleas in the newsletter to 1. clean your stuff; 2. don't put any non-acceptable items in there; 3. don't put plastic grocery store type bags in there as they clog machines; 4. be careful with glass- if it breaks it can contaminate a whole load.
    I am never sure of the fate of the items that I recycle but I roll the dice and at least try to recycle.

  3. #3
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    I think the best thing you can do is follow your communities guidelines. If they say plastics 1-5 do not throw number 6 plastic in your bin. I know too many people who throw just about everything in the recycling bin, thinking "well, if they can't recycle it they will remove it." Too much non-recyclables in the bin changes the equation for recycling companies. Throw your trash (non-recyclables in your community) in the trash or find another outlet for them. Also, yes, make sure your recyclables are clean and dry. If they want sorted in some way sort, otherwise most communities do single stream. There should be guidelines posted on your collection companies website.
    momma to DD 12/08 & DS 3/13

  4. #4
    SnuggleBuggles is online now Black Diamond level (25,000+ posts)
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    You might enjoy this audio story. I heard it on NPR https://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2019...o-waste-family

  5. #5
    twowhat? is offline Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    Following! For us, we are trying hard to reduce our use of single-use plastics. We stopped buying ziploc bags and use the re-usable/washable ones now. I take reusable bags to the grocery store, and that includes reusable mesh bags for produce. If I buy produce that doesn't need to be put into a bag at all (e.g. bananas), then I don't put it in a bag. I've figured out how to do the self-checkout with reusable bags too We take our own tumblers to Starbucks and use our own water bottles when we go out. That includes for work. I am trying to work out a solution for quitting saran wrap use...for now we use food containers with lids but sometimes I run out of those and just need to cover a bowl.

    We still end up with a ton of recyclables of course (milk/juice and other food bottles and cartons, boxes, etc) and it kills me that a lot of this may not actually end up being recycled.

    When I go into the office in CA, there are 3 bins we have to sort into (compost, recycle, and trash) and you have to sort carefully because they actually audit the bins! LOL! They do not put trash cans in any of the offices or cubicles - any trash has to go out into one of the 3 bins. So if you blow your nose and have a dirty kleenex, you walk it out of your office and put it in the "compost" bin.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by twowhat? View Post
    I am trying to work out a solution for quitting saran wrap use...for now we use food containers with lids but sometimes I run out of those and just need to cover a bowl.
    Why not use aluminum foil?
    Mommy to my wonderful, HEALTHY twin girls
    6/08 - Preemies no more!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwinFoxes View Post
    Why not use aluminum foil?
    Same problem as originally posted - recycling availability, or lack thereof. I'm going to try some of the stretch silicone bowl covers. also have beeswrap. I don't love it but it works OK in a pinch. Mostly I use glass bowls with lids.

    I've been making more of an effort to reduce plastic as a whole but it's really hard! I wish personal care and cleaning products had more options for refillable packagine - you buy the plastic bottle once and the rest are compostable paper you refill into the original container

  8. #8
    SnuggleBuggles is online now Black Diamond level (25,000+ posts)
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    I reuse aluminum foil.

  9. #9
    citymama is offline Pink Diamond level (15,000+ posts)
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    First rule of recycling - try not to create the waste in the first place. I've been avoiding grocery stores where produced comes wrapped in plastic cling wrap or on styrofoam. We try and buy at farmer's markets or the co-op where there's minimal packaging. Really trying to avoid amazon and other deliveries to the extent possible because of all the packaging, but that's a harder road. Using stainless steel water bottles, no straws, and we actually take our own containers to restaurants for leftovers!

    Plastic was recycled at such abysmally low rates even before the China ban. Aluminum/tin cans are recycled at much higher rates. Packaging popcorn + padded inserts - you can save those and take to UPS for them to reuse. Avoid plastic dish-ware at parties - compostable paper goods are completely competitive price-wise. Buy larger sizes for shampoo/conditioner, use bar soap instead of liquid pumps...or shop at co-ops where you can bring your own refillable containers.

    Ziplocks are my kryptonite - my kids use reusable snack bags but Ziplocks are so darn convenient for certain uses! I need to find a bio-bag version...

    Good for you for asking!

    for Sandy Hook



  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snow mom View Post
    I think the best thing you can do is follow your communities guidelines. If they say plastics 1-5 do not throw number 6 plastic in your bin.
    This. Our city stopped accepting glass containers and juice cartons in July. They also no longer take big plastic items like pails/buckets, litter boxes, etc. I can't remember exactly why, but something about costs, etc. It's so weird to throw away glass bottles and jars. I try to reuse what I can, but I have a need for only so many items. The big thing our city is enforcing this year is if you are in doubt about whether something can be recycled, toss it.

    I do have a question about drying recylables. How do you guys do it? We have a lot of soda cans and plastic drink containers every week (lemonade, tea, etc). I rinse them out, but I don't really have a place to let them air dry. Do you guys keep a drain rack around for those?
    DS: Raising heck since 12/09

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