They say it takes about 21 days to break a bad habit or to start a new one. Before moving into the sustainability house I knew what recycling was and how to do it, or so I thought, but I can’t say recycling was something I always made sure I did. Like most people, I recycled when it was convenient to.
As you may or may not know there are rules to recycling, especially with plastics. In order for us to recycle a plastic, it must have the recycling symbol on it with the number 1 through 7 in it. Not all plastics are created equal. The number on each plastic item contains information on the type of chemicals that make up each plastic. The recycling symbols that contain a number 1 or 2 in it are always safe to recycle. These plastics are commonly used for water and soda bottles. There are some recycling companies that still do not accept plastics that contain numbers 3 through 7, so it never hurts to check with your local recycling facility. Another good rule of thumb is to wash out all bottles or containers before dropping them in the recycling bin as well as removing the caps and labels (if possible). If you want to learn more about what is recyclable I posted a few helpful links below.
For this week’s blog, I choose to focus on what you can and cannot recycle because for the average household, your recycling bin should be more filled than your trashcan or waste-bin. For the past month in the sustainability house, my chore has been to weigh our trash, recyclables, and compost each week before putting them on the curb for pickup. I noticed that there has been a decrease in the amount of trash (in lbs.) taken out weekly and a significant increase in the amount of recyclables (in lbs.). For the month of September, trash that was headed for the landfill made up 52% of our total waste and recycling was the smallest at only 20% of our waste. By educating each other, putting signs up above the recycling bin explaining what can and should go in recycling, and by giving each other verbal reminders, we all got into the habit of recycling properly. Our focus on making recycling a habit had paid off already because for the month of October, our trash has decreased to 32% of our total waste weight and recyclables accounted for 37%.
Becoming someone who lives more sustainably is not an impossible task, as I’m learning. It’s all about breaking one bad habit at a time and starting a new one. I am happy so say as a house, we are sending less waste to the landfill and more to recycling facilities. However, a better habit to start on would be to go back to the first step and reduce our initial intakes.
Until Next Time,