Blog Action Day is a worldwide annual event that has operated since 2007. Its aim is to unite the world’s bloggers by posting about the same issue, on the same day — October 16 — in order to raise awareness and trigger a positive global discussion around an important issue that impacts us all, raises awareness or even funds not-for-profits associated to the theme issue. This year’s theme is “inequality.” Last year, blogs from more than 130 countries were published in support of Blog Action Day. How does this year’s Blog Action Day topic relate to recycling? Recycling programs differ completely from town to town and state to state. There is a need for educational tools that make recycling easier, thus reducing the recycling inequality in your municipality. I would even like to take it a step further and encourage all recyclers to offer a standardized single-stream recycling program no matter where they are located. This, I believe, would make recycling easier for everyone. Easier recycling means greater participation, which drives up recycling rates and reduces trash disposal and in turn lowers costs to municipalities and homeowners. In a single-stream recycling program, all recyclable materials are placed, unsorted, in one recycling bin, collected and then sorted at a regional recycling center. Curbside recycling becomes more convenient because there is not a need for residents or collectors to separate the recyclable materials. And, if a material that cannot be recycled ends up in the recycling bin, it will not end up spoiling a batch of recycling because it will be removed when it is sorted at the recycling center. Also, because there is not a need for the collector to sort recyclables at the curbside, haulers can implement automated collection. This increases route efficiencies, which reduces fuel consumption, decreases truck emissions, lessens employee injuries and lowers worker’s compensation costs. All of these reduce overall collection costs. Another bonus: If you are using a 64-gallon or 96-gallon wheeled cart for your recycling (as opposed to a standard 14-gallon bin), you are able to put more materials in your recycling bin each week. More recycling means less garbage trucked to the local landfill. Single-stream recycling also means that more natural resources are conserved and fewer raw materials are used. The benefits of single-stream recycling are numerous. If your community is not currently utilizing a single-stream recycling program, perhaps a phone call or email is in order. The conversation should begin across the country.
Blog Action Day: Recycling and Inequality
Could nationwide single-stream recycling programs be the answer to the dismal recycling rates in the U.S.?