It is a daily struggle: Figuring out what is safe to recycle is a real problem, especially when it comes to everyday items like rubber erasers. Unlike other office supplies, erasers are one item that cannot simply be tossed in the recycling bin, instead adding to the endlessly mounting landfill issue. Unfortunately, erasers belong on a long list of products that are classified as “nonrecyclable” mainly because they are so small and difficult to gather in large amounts. For recyclers, there is little incentive to begin recycling a material like erasers due to lack of demand (let alone profit). Therefore, hardly any eraser recycling companies exist. So, what do we do with used rubber erasers? We can begin by following the three Rs: reduce, reuse and recycle. It is as simple as reducing the number of erasers we purchase, reuse the ones we have and maybe recycle it if our curbside collection will take it. Many of us forget to consider the order of the three Rs — first reduce, second reuse and finally recycle. When you choose to be wasteful and buy items that you know we might need, it is unlikely you will use them. If you know those items in particular are not recyclable, then you are being wasteful. Next time, when considering buying items that you know may not follow the three Rs, you should rethink the consequences before carrying out a decision. Although we hope rubber erasers will be among many the materials that can profitably and effectively be recycled in the future, this does not take away from the fact that we must regard reducing and reusing higher than recycling from the very point of purchase.
Practicing the Three Rs with Rubber Erasers
Rubber erasers are not easily recyclable, so how can we lessen their impact? It starts by remembering the three Rs: reduce, reuse and recycle.