What Happens When You Don’t Properly Sort Your Recyclables?
Recycling is something most people know they should be practicing. However, far too few people understand what happens when we recycle incorrectly and put the wrong items in the recycling bin/mix recycling items incorrectly. This is a huge problem that has effects on not just the environment but on the financial cost of recycling as well!
The Cost of Not Recycling Properly
“According to Waste Management, an American trash collecting company, the average recycling contamination rate — or disposal of trash or recyclables in the wrong recycling bin — is 25%, meaning 1 in 4 items thrown in a recycling bin isn’t recyclable… The U.S. previously exported about one-third of its recyclables — but that all changed in 2013, when China, one of the largest purchasers of the country’s recyclable materials, created the Operation Green Fence policy. This policy meant intensive inspections of recycling coming from the U.S. for any contaminants. In 2017, China took this even further and introduced the National Sword Policy, banning the import of recyclable waste, which went into effect in January 2018” (Mic.com). This is a big deal because, with the sudden loss of our primary source for recycling, the U.S. is now in a position where it has to handle the bulk of the work and we are seeing very clearly that most Americans do not know how to recycle properly.
Some areas of the country are worse at recycling than others. Some places see a low overall turn out when it comes to recycling and how many materials are being left out for recycling each year. Other states see a lot of contamination and improper sorting and recycling practices. Still, other areas of the country are struggling to get good educational resources and local government support to make the recycling option a viable and practical one. An example of such an area of the country is the packed and bustling city of Chicago, Illinois where recycling rates are some of the lowest in the nation per capita and where contamination rates are among the highest. “Are Chicagoans simply less willing to at recycle as compared to other Americans? The disparity in rates can more likely be traced to the fact that the city's comprehensive recycling program is relatively young. Though Chicago's first recycling ordinance was passed in 1993, it suffered from uneven implementation for more than two decades. The city has had uniform recycling coverage for smaller buildings only since 2014. And lest you think blue cart participants are solely to blame for Chicago's poor recycling track record, consider that twice as much waste comes from large residential and commercial buildings than from…homes” (Chicago Reader).
Clearly, we as Americans can do better and we must do better! That is why we here at Central Kentucky Fiber Resources, LLC are committed to continuing education and improved methods and practices for recycling various products across our great country. Contact us today to learn more and to see how you can make a difference with proper recycling practices!