30 Day Zero Waste Challenge
“Recycling is an aspirin, alleviating a rather large collective hangover…overconsumption. The best way to reduce any environmental impact is not to recycle more, but to produce and dispose of less.” ~ Cradle to Cradle
Today’s challenge requires a change of mind. Recycling, one of the original 3 R’s, was something that you could do to earn green cred. Now we, Zero-Waste Travelers, know that our first goal should always be to reduce the amount of waste we create, as much as possible.
- Recycling requires energy
- Recycling plants can emit pollution
- Recycling doesn’t address the core matter of consumption
“ZWI considers recycling to be no more than an appendage to garbage creation and the garbage industry. Instead, ZWI calls for the redesign of all of the products… so that discard never takes place and there is no waste generated needing to be reused or recycled. Discard is seen as the critical step, a commercial and psychological transfer of responsibility which breaks the chain of custody of a product, removes its owner and subjects it to the degradation of garbage management.”
Learn to recycle less! Try to take the recycling bin out one or two less times each month. How? By refusing, reducing, and reusing items that we purchase and bring into our home. Concentrate on making less plastic waste. We simply produce too much plastic to recover it all through recycling.
Must Reads on Recycling from the Zero Waste Institute:
“You will hear on every hand that recycling is the road to Zero Waste. Wrong! Zero Waste cannot be achieved with more recycling. Recycling is used to process discards! Only the intelligent redesign of industrial and commercial practices to eliminate discard holds out the promise of a Zero Waste society.”
10 Ways Recycling Hurts the Environment – http://listverse.com/2013/01/27/10-ways-recycling-hurts-the-environment/
Can Recycling Be Bad for the Environment?
When Recycling Is Bad for the Environment
Recycling plastic is tricky business, and many plastics are better off as garbage.
- IS RECYCLING GOOD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT?
- Recycling is a last resort!
- Zero Waste is not recycling more, but less -Bea Johnson
- How to Combat Junk Mail – Not sure if this is current… (anyone have a link for local/current tips?)
- From King County – Zero Waste Goals
- From King County: “What happens to your recyclables?” (Check out the giant bales on the floor waiting to go… where?)
Here’s a list of what gets recycled (can be recycled again) vs. Downcycled (made into an un-recyclable lesser kind of product) from Zero Waste Home. https://zerowastehome.com/2010/03/zero-waste-homes-last-resort-recycling/
- Aluminum – recycled
- Steel – recycled
- Glass – recycled
- Paper – downcycled (about eight times)
- Plastics #1 and 2 – downcycled (generally once)
- Plastics #3 to 7 – rarely downcycled
- Plastic bags – sometimes downcycled
Quote of the Day
“The greatest threat to our environment is the belief that someone else will save it.” -Robert Swan