Not too long ago, if Fountain Hills residents wanted to recycle, they had to load it in their car and drive it to a row of dumpsters in the library parking lot. When the Town started a new contract with Republic Services, curbside recycling bins were distributed to homeowners and recycling became just as easy as taking out the trash.
Then America’s recycling system broke. China was the world’s long-time home base for plastic recycling, importing two-thirds of global plastic waste in 2016. But on the last day of 2017, China issued new rules that brought most of it to a halt.
Since America does not have the infrastructure to deal with most of our own unwanted paper, plastic, and glass, much of it is ending up in landfills.
Fountain Hills is serviced by Republic Services, a company that is dedicated to educating customers about the importance of recycling reusable materials. They have an entire website just for that at https://recyclingsimplified.com/. It is filled with tips, resources, and materials for educators.
Yet plastic waste continues to be a problem in our country despite the best efforts of our biggest waste management companies.
Scientists think about 8 million metric tons of plastic enter the ocean every year. That is the weight of nearly 90 aircraft carriers! These plastics harm sea animals. Some get tangled up in it, most mistake it for food and swallow it which clogs their digestive tracts and leads to death. The plastic does not decompose but breaks into smaller pieces called microplastics.
The ideal solution to all of this is to reduce our use of plastics, especially single-use items. The following tips are easy for most people to do and make a bigger impact than you might suspect.
- Use a quality reusable water bottle. More than 60 million plastic bottles end up in landfills every day! THESE WATER BOTTLES are insulated and have wide openings for ice.
- Switch to reusable shopping bags. A single plastic bag can take 1,000 years to degrade. For grocery shopping and errands, THESE CANVAS BAGS are durable. Keep A ROLL-UP BAG in your purse or computer bag for spontaneous purchases.
- Skip the straw. Straws are not recyclable and frequently end up in the ocean. You can also carry along your own STAINLESS STEEL STRAWS.
- Purchase from bulk bins with a reusable bag. Save money and packaging with small REUSABLE PRODUCE BAGS.
- Skip single-use dishes and plasticware at home. We all do it sometimes when hosting a party but go with real dishes and silverware every day.
For more great tips on reducing throw-away plastics, visit https://zerowastehome.com/.