One Man's Trash Is Another Man's Treasure - Or Is It?
Family and Consumer Sciences Agent
In 2010, the Florida Legislature passed House Bill 7243, setting a recycling goal of 75% by 2020 for the State of Florida (however, because of Governor Scott’s Executive Order 11-01 on January 4, 2011 regarding suspension of rulemaking, it is on hold). Nonetheless, cities and counties around the State of Florida are taking this trash thing pretty seriously.
Recyling saves landfill space and natural resources. Photo Credits: Cyndy Brantley, Leon County Recyling Coordinator
The topic of solid waste disposal is a sustainability issue in which each and every one of us are stakeholders. How it affects each of us varies by community.
For example, San Francisco, California recently was ranked the greenest city in the USA. Residents are required by law to put recyclable materials into a blue bin, compostables into a green bin and regular old garbage into a black bin. According to city officials, this rigorous recycling law is keeping 77% of previously thrown away materials out of landfills.
Consider a city closer to home - the one you live in. What are you doing to make your community more sustainable?
Think about it – listed are but just a few of the products that can be made anew from stuff commonly thrown in the trash:
Soft Drink Bottles
Carpet fibers; Luggage
Plastic Bottles and Jugs:
Toys; Lawn furniture
Egg cartons; Cat litter
Magazines and Catalogs:
Toilet paper; Paper towels
Glass Bottles and Jars:
Decorative tiles; Glasphalt for highway construction
New cans; Car parts
Vehicles; Paper clips
Plastic Bags and Sacks:
New plastic bags
Yard Debris and Food Remains:
Compost; Methane fuel
Door mats; Hoses
And the list continues.
In April this year, Leon County, Florida Solid Waste commissioned a comprehensive Waste Audit to inform and influence solid waste reduction. Results of the garbage analyzed (by actually picking through trash randomly collected and deposited on the transfer station floor) showed that 52% of it could have been recycled. Items found included:
recyclable paper other than white paper
glass containers, beverage and food
other materials (indiscernible organics, diapers, kitty litter, toys, textiles, plastics)
It is crystal clear that many of us (self included) do not recycle enough - even the easy stuff. It makes both environmental and economic sense to practice sustainability.
What can you do to relieve some of the burden of the ever-growing landfills in your community? Recycling trash is but one way to preserve our natural resources without destroying the ecological balance of Florida and other parts of the world. Let’s help do our part!