The Challenge: Recycle Right!
Waste production multiplied tenfold over the past century, and experts expect it to double again by 2025, and about half of that waste is generated at the household level and whether or not that waste is recycled has implications for greenhouse gas emissions. Producing new products from recovered materials often saves energy, reduces resource extraction, thereby minimizing other pollutants and creating jobs. * It’s estimated that there are 757,000 recycling-related jobs in the United States, and these careers represent $36 billion in wages and $6.7 billion in tax revenue each year (EPA).
Not everything can be reduced, reused, or recycled, and we need to conserve available landfill space for those items that cannot be diverted from disposal.**
In Ulster County we have Dual Stream Recycling, which means separating paper items from metal and plastic. Dual stream recycling reduces the amount of contamination among recyclable items, ensuring that fewer recyclable items end up as garbage. Putting unaccepted items in the recycling bin can damage equipment, harm workers, and reduce the value and environmental benefits of recycling.
The manufacturing of goods, and the transportation and disposal of waste creates greenhouse gas emissions that could be greatly reduced by recycling. However, the most impactful way to avoid these emissions is to reduce and reuse items before they need to be recycled or discarded.**
If you want to learn more, attend our Recycle Right Event on February 21
*Hawken, P. (2017). Drawdown: The most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming. Penguin Books.
**Dual Stream Recycling. UCRRA. (2021, December 21). Retrieved December 21, 2022, from http://ucrra.org/waste-recycling/dual-stream-recycling/