It is very encouraging to see so many individuals, businesses and institutions recycling. The Recycling Centre is very busy. The tonnage this year reflects this as we were 31 tonnes ahead of last year at the end of May.
It is also great to see people selling and giving things away they no longer want that are still good to use.
It’s definitely better for the planet.
What happens next to this waste that is being kept out of landfills is important to making the system work.
The environmental benefits are not usually the bottom line. Money, regulation and consumer demand are.
Some kinds of reusing and recycling are well established. Second hand shops, garage sales, donations or giveaways have been happening for years.
Metal recycling has been done for decades.
The end use of other materials has been a challenge. It is encouraging to see packaging and other things with a label that a percentage of recycled materials was used in making the item.
When oil prices drop the market for recycled plastic gets worse. When there is too much cardboard on the market, we may have to pay to have it recycled.
More recently, communities that are composting are saying they need an end market for it. The community cannot use all they produce.
Regulation helps. In the US regulation requires that all office paper that is manufactured contains a percentage of recycled materials. With no regulation in Canada, most office paper is recycled into disposable paper products.
What people buy makes a difference. Shop at second hand stores. Buy products made of recycled materials. Look for ways to make the next step happen.