There is nothing like a hot cup of tea in the morning. That is, until I’m done, and I have to decide what to do with my cup. Can I recycle it?Is that a trick question?
Yeah this is a great question. I just figure you can recycle anything that’s cardboard-esque.
I can’t recycle my coffee cup? Knowing what you can and can’t recycle isn’t easy. The rules depend on where you live, and there are hundreds of products and materials.
Hopefully this video and our expertise helps people recycle. There are rules depending on your location, but if you understand the system it simplifies things. This is what Mountain Ocean Project is here to do.
Youtube Channel: Vox
The rules aren’t always clear. Let’s talk about pizza boxes. Do you think pizza boxes are recyclable? I’ll give you a few seconds! Think long and hard about your decisions! It’s not a trick question –
I hear that that’s not recyclable. I don’t know if that’s like a legend, an urban legend or something. My roommate and I actually have this discussion where I’m like I’ll throw paper towels in the bin”
My roommate says, ‘I don’t think you can recycle them’ and pick them out. “Like, I don’t know, it’s paper. I don’t know, this is so hard!”
No they’re not, why? Because the grease soaks into the pizza box. It’s actually a trick question. I know I said it wasn’t, but you can recycle the tops of pizza boxes. As long as they have zero grease!
The main problem with ocean pollution is it acts as our landfill, how can we treat something so beautiful with disrespect.
The confusion means things that actually garbage still end up in the recycling stream. About 25% of what Americans try to recycle, can’t actually be recycled. Waste management experts say what’s going on here is something called “aspirational recycling”:
When people are unsure if an item can be recycled, they recycle it, because it feels like the right thing to do. And while our intentions are good, this behavior isn’t harmless. Even small amounts of contamination can turn entire hauls of otherwise recyclable materials into trash — and the problem has been growing.
The rate of recycling contamination more than doubled in the last decade. So why is this happening?
Well, it is at least in part due to a major shift in how Americans recycle. Beginning in the 1990s and 2000s, municipalities implemented “single stream” recycling programs.
Paper, metal, plastic and glass no longer needed to be sorted. They could all live in one bin. Communities quickly adopted the practice and by 2014, 80% of all curbside recycling programs in the US were single stream.
The problem is, there’s evidence that when we put all our recycling into one bin, we’re more likely to throw trash in there along with it.
Take two neighboring counties in Florida, for example: Palm Beach County, where residents must pre-sort their recyclables, had a contamination rate of only 9 percent, while Broward County’s single-stream program had a contamination rate of 30 percent.
Single-stream recycling takes the responsibility to sort off of the individual, and shifts it to Materials Recovery Facilities, or MRFs, where trash gets sorted out from recycling by machines, but also by workers, who often have to remove waste by hand: pizza boxes contaminated with grease, electronics that aren’t processed at standard recycling facilities, even the likes of Christmas lights, animal carcasses, and bowling balls.
In Portland, workers remove thousands of dirty diapers every month. In a perfect world, everyone would know how to recycle correctly, but short of that, there’s something we can all start doing differently right now: Unless you are absolutely sure, don’t recycle it.
In fact, recycling education campaigns encourage the opposite: when in doubt, the best option may be to throw it out. Most people want to do the right thing, and sometimes the way to be a good recycler is to throw stuff in the trash.
I’d like to guess every recycling facility you’ve been to has been an MRF and not a reprocessing facility. We collect recyclables but don’t recycle enough. This is the exact problem Mountain Ocean Project aims to fix! Support our movement in many ways! Pick one or I guess you can pick none! Reading this helps us out!
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