Reduce, Reuse, Recyle – Even More, Part 2!

Earlier this week, in our blog, Reduce, Reuse, Recylcle – Even More!, we talked about the free programs available to our community through Wellspring Holistic Center.  Today, we would like to share some of the resources that we have discovered and have been using.  We hope you will join us.

Since we are far from perfect, there are some foods that we have not been willing to give up that are packaged in plastic, so we have made it a priority to recycle that plastic in our plastic recycle box purchased from Terracycle.  Since purchasing our plastic recycle box, our trash can has been virtually empty. Since January we have only thrown away a couple of small plastic bags full of trash.

We also have found several local companies that will either allow us to bring our own glass containers (Pyrex makes a glass bottom and top) for purchasing beef, poultry, pork, and fish or just wrap it in paper.

           

We have always brought our own cloth and recycled bags to the grocery store. We now added a wonderful line of canvas and cloth vegetable and bulk food bags.  As a bonus, we find that they keep our vegetables fresher longer.

We still have a small chip addiction and if you have come to the office, you may have caught us with our mouths full!  Lucky for us some Subaru car dealerships have teamed up with Terracycle and created a program called, Subaru Loves the Earth.  We will be bringing our chip bags to a local dealership in Bethlehem, PA. (soon!)

Make sure to read our next blog, Part 3, on our new partnership with 1% for Nature.

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New Year’s Resolution – Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle

Happy New Year!  Sorry for the late wishes.  We are not quite sure where January went, but as we approach February we are moving forward with our New Year’s resolution to reduce the amount of plastic waste that we produce across all areas of our lives.  We have always recycled, but in recent months Louise’s husband, Tom has been doing more research on the what is actually happening to the plastic that we put in our recycle bin and the news is not good.  

Did you know even if your local trash collector says they are recycling everything you put into your bin, that in fact, some or all of it is probably ending up in the landfill?  Really? That was our first reaction  and here is what our research produced:

In a recent interview, David Kaplan, the CEO of Maine Plastics , a post-industrial recycler, explained about the current recycling practices here in the US.  He said that plastics with numbers 3-7 are absolutely not being recycled and are going to a landfill because China is no longer taking these plastics.  This has been happening since the launching of an initiative known as ‘Green Fence’ by the Chinese government which was to help reduce their pollution.  The policy bans the import of all but the cleanest, most tidily organized bales of reusable rubbish.  The program was supposed to end in November of 2013, but as suspected by the recycling companies, it looks like Green Fence is here to stay.  Mr. Kaplan believes that the plastics #3-7 will continue to end up in landfills until the United States can economically recycle these plastics. 

So unfortunately not all plastic that is put into a bin is getting recycled and only 9% of all plastic even makes it into a recycling bin.  So what happens to the other 91%?  Some of it ends up in a landfill but a fair amount ends up in our oceans.  Around 8 million metric tons go into the oceans each year, according to the first rigorous global estimate published in Science today.  That’s equivalent to 16 shopping bags full of plastic for every meter of coastline (excluding Antarctica).  By 2025 we will be putting enough plastic in the ocean (on our most conservative estimates) to cover 5% of the earth’s entire surface in cling film each year.  Those are some scary statistics.  But what really made us rethink our plastic addiction was the report from The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the Future of Plastics, which analyzed the flow of materials around the world and predicted that, given the projected growth in plastic production, by 2050 oceans could contain more plastics than fish.

In the year 2050, our children and nieces and nephews will be close to our ages.  We want them to be able to enjoy nature as much as we do today.  Therefore, we are making a change.  At home and at the office we are going to reduce the amount of plastic that we use and at the same time we are going to recycle as much plastic material as we can in order to decrease the amount of garbage that we produce.  It is not easy. Once you stop and pay attention to the amount of plastic that is around, the task seems daunting.  We believe we have to start somewhere! We cannot let this make us complacent, nor paralyzed.

In our next blog we will tell you how we are doing it! Please come back and pass this along to your friends and family.

We are all in this together.

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