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Recycling Q&A

Part 2

 

There’s a lot of talk about mindfulness these days, and I think these folks are onto something. Like practicing doing things with intention instead of just by habit. Take recycling, not the sexiest of tasks, but one that can improve your “look” on the local and global scene. 

By recycling the right way, we get the best results, and end up with far fewer things going to the landfill. Our area is served by Welsh Sanitation and they have made it very easy to get it right. Learn more at www.royalcarting.us/welsh-recycling.

Many municipalities have their own systems, for example NYC bags recyclables since the bags are picked up by hand, and they need to see what each bag holds.  We are advised not to use plastic bags for our town and village recycling as the plastic bags clog the expensive sorting machines, and cannot be recycled at all.  Having single stream collection is convenient for us, we do not need to pre-sort glass, paper and metal, that is all done on the other end.  But by being lackadaisical, we may hurt more than we help. We all know not to throw empty pizza boxes in the paper recycling can, as the grease contaminates the whole batch. But contamination also happens when non-recyclables are thrown in the mix. 

We got lazy and wish-cycled along for many decades. Other countries once took most of our reusable waste, as it was considered a valuable world commodity. For two main reasons, this has changed: Our recycling is heavily contaminated and, other countries now generate enough trash and don’t need ours. 

With the fear of many smaller sanitation haulers shutting down due to loss of revenue, we could be faced with more illegal dumping in our woods, and more transporting to poorer countries that are already suffering under their own mountains of garbage. If you wonder what and how you can recycle with our local hauler, again please go to www.royalcarting.us. 

And let’s do things that reduce our use of plastic containers to lessen the global load. Bring our own water with us from the tap, our water is clean and fresh and a resource to be proud of!  

Buy in bulk with products like yogurt, snacks and drinks and divide at home to take to work and school. Eschew straws at all cost, unless needed by folks with certain physical disabilities, and bring your own coffee cup if you are buying coffee away from home. 

If taking away food from a night out, the plastic forks, knives and spoons may not be needed if eating later at home. And until the law forces us to move away from plastic shopping bags, let’s bring our own, or in the interim, ask for paper bags which then double as trash holders in the house and can be recycled. Well, I don’t know about you, but all this trash talk has me feeling sexier already! 

 

Eliot Ramos is a village resident and a member of the town of North East’s and village of Millerton’s Conservation Advisory Council.