By Mary Pat Baldauf
This week, I attended a “Women in Green” event with 40 participants, all of whom considered themselves to be “sustainable.” At the end of the event, I was surprised to see that the recycling bin, conveniently located inside a trash receptacle, was full of items that couldn’t be recycled, aka contamination. If a roomful of “green” women can’t get it right, we obviously need to do more education.
Recycling is an eco-friendly thing to do – but it’s also a business. Recycling facilities want clean paper and packaging, and curbside recycling program is primarily designed to collect those materials. So, other random objects, like scrap metal, electronics, dining ware, toys, food, textiles, yard waste, etc., should never be placed in a blue recycling cart or bin.
Here’s how YOU can help make recycling work:
- Please visit scdhec.gov/recycleheresc to see what is recycled where you live. Follow that list to the letter. Most Midlands area recycling programs also have smart phone apps with lots of bells and whistles to make it easier to recycle, including reminders for your recycling day. Visit your local government website for details.
- Learn what 12 items you should never put in your recycling bin or cart and commit to keeping the “dirty dozen” out for good.
- Creativity is a wonderful thing, but not when it comes to recycling. If there’s any doubt, throw it out. Don’t waste space (and fuel and time) by filling up recycling collection trucks with trash. It’s difficult, inefficient and expensive for the sorting facility to deal with trash and it reduces the value of your recyclables.
- No bags, please. They slow down recycling sorting systems, drive up costs and hurt the quality of the materials being recycled.
- Just because it has a recycling symbol on it, doesn’t mean it can be recycled in your area. Check the list for your area, and if it’s not on there, don’t recycle it.
For additional information on recycling, visit http://recyclemoresc.org/.