The Wishful Recycler

Posted by Carol Brown on

For most of my adult life, I have been a "wishful recycler." I threw pretty much everything in the recycle bin, even things I wasn't sure could be recycled, because I was hopeful that the good people who sort it all out would figure it out for me. Turns out, I was WRONG. This is called "contaminating the recycling stream," and it causes your entire "wishful" bin to go straight to the landfill. The good folks who collect your recycling are trying to make a living from it, and sorting through it to pick out the plastic forks and straws that will clog up their sorting machines isn't economically feasible.

But the real solution isn't being more careful about which trash we send to recycling, it is producing less waste overall. 

The amount of trash we produce in the US and blithely send off to a landfill is a problem that is bigger than any one of us. It is a systemic mindset of convenience and tradition, and my father, who is 84 years old, will never switch to metal straws. But we as individuals can START a change in those traditional mindsets without sacrificing convenience. We can make small changes today that will produce less trash for our grandchildren.

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