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19 ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS TO LEARN ABOUT RECYCLING

Posted under Kids & Families by Katie Chiavarone on 
Source: Nature’s Path

Recycling with kids is incredibly important to do, and a good concept to promote as parents and educators. Kids will see that recycling goes beyond simply having a second garbage bin. By repurposing items before throwing them away, kids will learn that making new items from recycled ones takes less energy and fewer resources than making products from brand new materials.

Here are 20 activities that demonstrate the importance of recycling while making it doable and functional for kids:

1. Build a robot.

Don’t throw away the cardboard boxes and yogurt containers! Build a robot with these materials.

2. Make seed paper.

Do this instead of tossing shredded paper in the bin.

3. Play a game. 

Play games to help kids practice which items can be recycled, and which are waste.

4. Make a bird feeder

This is one of those activities that demonstrates how much cheaper it is to use recycled materials than to buy something brand new.

Source: Nature’s Path
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

5. Paint the symbol.

Practice recognizing this symbol through art. This way, kids can easily identify recycling bins out in public.

6. Make recycling bins for the home.

Making small bins that can be kept indoors allows kids the chance to easily sort the garbage.

7. Try an online game.

There are a few online games where kids can practice recycling in a fun way, like this one.

8. Pack a waste-free lunch.

Use a recycled container in lieu of items in bags. More ideas for a waste-free lunch here.

9. Read the facts.

Recycling 1 ton of paper can save 17 trees, 7,000 gallons of water, 2 barrels of oil, and 4,000 kilowatts of electricity. The energy that you save can power 1 home for 5 months.

10. Watch a video.

A short, kid-friendly video can really drive the point home.

11. Go on a recycling scavenger hunt.

Head out to a local park and see how much you can collect from the environment that can be recycled! Got competitive kids? Make it a race.

12. Read! 

Father And Children Reading
Source: Nature’s Path
SHidonna Raven Garden and Cook

13. Make a DIY toy.

Before recycling items, try to repurpose them. A milk jug or a yogurt container can make for really fun ball poppers for kids.

14. Turn newspaper into building rods.

Check out these amazing play structures and tents made from newspaper!

15. Homemade puzzles.

Instead of throwing away greeting cards, cut them up and make a homemade puzzle. Cereal boxes are great for this, as well.

16. Donate toys and clothes.

Instead of throwing away toys your kids are done playing with, help them choose some to be donated and reused by other children.

donating clothes
Source: Nature’s Path
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

17. Take a field trip!

Head out to a local recycling center and watch a bit of the process happen.

18. Spearhead a recycling club.

Help your child start a local initiative in their neighborhood or school.

19. Homemade wind chimes.

String and paint old tin cans to make a nice piece of outdoor musical decor.

There are many other ways to teach kids about recycling and how they can make an impact, but these ones mentioned above certainly make a great start. Kids should feel empowered to contribute to the health of the environment, and can help influence those around them to recycle too!

KATIE CHIAVARONE

What are some other fun ways to teach kids about recycling? What other ways can you get kids involved in recycling? What other ways can you teach kids about sustainable living?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

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Is Aluminum better than Plastic?

Is aluminum better than plastic? It’s complicated.

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Source: The Verege
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Which do you think is better: plastic or aluminum for recycling? Why? How can you use what you learned to reduce global warming?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

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With holidays, know what you can, cannot recycle

122018-recycle-001
Source: Quad City Times
These holiday items do NOT belong in your recycling cart: wrapping paper (even if it has the recycling symbol, which means it was made from recycled materials), ribbons, bows, and artificial Christmas trees. Christmas lights can be recycled, but only at the Electronics Recovery Center, 5650 Carey Ave., Davenport. QUAD-CITY TIMES
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Household waste in the United States increases by more than 25% between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.

Scott County residents may recycle many holiday items through curbside and drop-off recycling programs, including:

• Boxes, such as those from electronics, toys, shoes and shirts;

• Wrapping paper tubes;

• Gift/shopping bags made of paper;

• Tissue paper;

• Greeting cards and envelopes (even photo cards);

• Newspapers, advertisements, magazines and catalogs;

• Plastic bottles and jugs;

• Glass bottles and jars;

• Aluminum and steel cans.

• Aluminum pie plates, clean foil and cookie/popcorn tins also go into the recycling cart or drop off recycling programs.

Holiday lights: Strands of holiday lights also may be recycled, but don’t place them in curbside recycling carts.

Holiday lights — along with computers, monitors, televisions, printers, digital cameras and video game systems — are considered electronic waste, or e-waste.

These items may be dropped off 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to noon the first Saturday of the month at the Electronics Recovery Center, 5650 Carey Ave., Davenport. There is no charge to residents of Scott and Rock Island counties.

The cities of Bettendorf and Davenport collect large e-waste items at the curb from residents on their bulky waste/recycling days and deliver them to the Electronics Recovery Center. Data containing electronics can be dropped off at the secure Electronics Recovery Center during business hours.

What CAN’T be recycled: Not all holiday items may be recycled. This includes plastic bags and films, Styrofoam, wrapping paper, bows, ribbons, and artificial Christmas trees. These are considered contaminants to the recycling process and should not be placed in curbside or drop-off recycling containers.

Follow the guidelines: Residents are reminded that all recyclables must be contained within their cart, with the lid closed, for collection. Cardboard placed outside the cart cannot be collected. Cardboard pieces that do not fit inside the cart may either be broken down to fit, or may be recycled at any of the drop-off locations around the county. A list of locations may be found online at www.wastecom.com.

For more information about holiday recycling, call 563-386-9575 or visit www.wastecom.com.

Now that Christmas is over, what will you do with all that wrapping and packing? What are your New Year’s resolutions? Is recycling one of them?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

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Glass Recycling A Smashing Success

Recycle Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

More than 14 million pounds recycled in Fairfax County

By Press Release Desk, News Partner
Nov 27, 2020 10:04 am ET

Press release from the Fairfax County Government:
November 25, 2020
Source: Patch
Feature Photo Source: Unsplash, Gary-Chan

More than 14 million pounds.

That’s how much clean glass has been collected in purple bins located in Northern Virginia since March 2019 and taken to the region’s only glass-crushing machine in Fairfax County. A truly smashing success that has shattered expectations after a new policy went into effect last year that the county and our private recycling haulers will no longer accept glass bottles and jars at curbside.

But that’s only part of this evolving story. This change has made headlines in the recycling industry — and now the glass you deposit in a purple bin may become a glass product again, all thanks to many of you who’ve participated in this voluntary program.

Glass-to-Glass Recycling Now Happening

North America’s largest glass recycler, Strategic Materials, has begun transporting glass from our processing plant in Lorton to one of its recycling facilities. There, the glass will be processed and sold to manufacturers of a wide range of glass products. One such customer is Owens-Illinois, Inc. also known as O-I, which produces 3.6 million bottles a day at its bottle manufacturing plants in Danville and Toano, Va.

Glass collected in Virginia and recycled into glass bottles in Virginia closes the loop on the circular economy, a goal of sustainable communities. According to O-I, glass-to-glass recycling uses less energy than making bottles from original material, reduces carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, and supports hundreds of jobs.

Key to Success: Clean Glass

“This new market for our glass wouldn’t be possible without our residents,” said John Kellas, solid waste management program director. “They have adjusted their glass recycling habits and are filling up our purple cans almost faster than we can empty them. I appreciate their willingness to participate in the program and their patience as we identify additional drop-off locations and work through the logistics of the new collection routes.”

The quality and volume of clean glass resulted in the partnership with Strategic Materials, which is taking the glass before it’s crushed by the county’s “Big Blue” machine.

“Fairfax County probably has the highest quality of material we’ve seen in a drop-off program,” said Laura Henneman, vice president of marketing and communications for Strategic Materials. “The trial glass load was about 98 to 99 percent usable glass, which is incredible.”

Where to Bring Your Glass

Haven’t participated yet? No problem! Here’s a map of where you can find purple bins in the county, as well as in Alexandria, Herndon, Vienna, Prince William County and Arlington County. And because of the success, some Fairfax County locations are now on a twice-a-week pickup schedule.

And if you can’t bring glass to a purple bin, then either reuse it yourself or simply place it in your regular trash.
Click Here for MAP

Quick Refresher on the Change

Some people still ask why glass is no longer accepted in curbside recycling. Here’s a quick refresher.

Glass creates three main problems for single-stream recycling:

  1. Glass containers placed in curbside recycling bins break during collection and transport to recycling sorting centers. Broken glass contaminates bales of other more valuable recycled items, such as cardboard and metals. Contamination has become a major problem for the recycling industry in the past two years since China, the largest customer for recycled material, imposed strict standards on the quality of recycled material it accepts.
  2. The abrasive broken glass damages machinery.
  3. Glass is also heavy, which adds cost to transporting recyclables to and from recycling centers.

This press release was produced by the Fairfax County Government.The views expressed here are the author’s own.

Which ways do you recycle? How can recycling glass be more profitable? Which materials would you like to recycle?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

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Easy Recycling

The Story of Reuse

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Source: EPA
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How can you make recycling easy? How can you get your children involved? What are the benefits to recycling?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

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Ways to go Green: Recycling

Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Recycling

Source: Freeway Insurance
Feature Photo Source: Unsplash, Paweł Czerwiński

In a lifetime, the average American will throw away 600 times the amount of his or her adult weight in garbage. Recycling is an important part of protecting the environment and helps conserve resources and energy, preserves valuable landfill space and supports a healthy environment.

Below are 10 ways to recycle, some of which also help with reducing and reusing.

1.    Use reusable bags instead of plastic. A weekly trip to the grocery store requires an average of 10 plastic bags to carry the entire load of groceries home. That is approximately 520 plastic bags per year for a single household. Rather than recycling the plastic bags, use reusable cloth bags that you can wash and reuse throughout the year.
2.    Reuse scrap paper for crafts. Even the smallest bits of pretty fabric and paper can make a big impact. Turn them into strips of decorative tape and you’ll have beautiful trims ready to use.
3.    Repurpose glass jars and containers. You’re paying extra for these food-filled glass containers, why not reuse them for other household items that need a new container? You can look up many green living ideas on Pinterest that will show you great ways to recycle plain glass jars into pretty home-products, ranging from food containers to decorative light-hangers.
4.    Use cloth napkins and towels. Using cloth napkins and towels in the kitchen and bathrooms will help to reduce paper consumption and give you a reusable product, possibly saving you a couple hundred dollars a year.
5.    Recycle electronics. Even if you’ve tried everything you can to revive your electronic device, laptop or computer, don’t just dump it in the garbage. You can donate it to charities that can fix it up or send it back to the manufacturer that will end up recycling the body and parts for other products. Some ink cartridge manufacturers will give you a prepaid label to mail back used-cartridges to recycle. Look into the manufacturers of your devices and find out about their recycling programs.

Extreme recycling

These 5 extreme recycling tips take more work, but if you’re serious about Green Living, then continue on to these ways to recycle:

1.    Recycle water. This one is a big investment, as you’d have to reconfigure your water pipes so that bathwater and sink water can be used for either flushing the toilet or for watering your yards. You’ll be recycling the water to serve more than just a single purpose and as a result, also saving more on your water bills.
2.    Make your own compost. You’ll be leaving your organic waste in a compost bin to decompose so that you can recycle the compost for plants. Be sure that you have the right container and put only decomposable items in.
3.    Switch to using cloth diapers. Using cloth diapers for your child may seem outdated, but women have done this for centuries. Disposable diapers aren’t usually put into recycling categories, so you’re better off using cloth diapers if you truly want to go green.
4.    Collect rainwater to use for watering plants. If you’re in a state other than California, which is in a drought, you should be taking advantage of the rainy season and recycling the rainwater. Save more money on your water bill by using the natural water for watering your indoor or outdoor plants.
5.    Buy secondhand furniture. It’s one of the greatest ways to recycle furniture that is still usable and also reduces trash in the landfill.

True green living requires a lifestyle change, but there are little things you can do that will help our landfills from becoming unusable. Just follow these ways to recycle, and you’ll be on your way to having less garbage and wasted resources.

What ways can you recycle? Are you a community climate change champion? What ways do you recycle now?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

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The state of recycling in Virginia: It may not be going where you think

Recycling Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

By KATHERINE HAFNER
Source: THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT |NOV 07, 2019 AT 10:10 AM
Feature Photo Source: Unsplash, Bernard Hermant

What happens to our recycling in Hampton Roads?

Sorters sift through recycling as it passes by on a conveyor belt, pulling out items that cannot be recycled or will damage the machinery at TFC Recycling in Chesapeake on October 7, 2019. (Sarah Holm/The Virginian Pilot)1 / 8

A few years ago when you tossed your cardboard boxes from Amazon into the recycling bin, there’s a good chance they eventually traveled thousands of miles and half a world away to China.

In Virginia, as elsewhere, some businesses that haul or process our waste have gone bankrupt, closed or moved. Some cities have had to cancel their curbside recycling programs — meaning those materials are now going to the dump.

The commonwealth is working to recover. Hampton Roads, too, has had to adapt.

Much of our region’s recycling — 400 tons a day of it — ends up at TFC Recycling’s material recovery facility in Chesapeake. The waste comes from Virginia Beach and the Outer Banks all the way to the Eastern Shore and James City County.

“Next thing you know we’ve got a national crisis, because you can’t afford to stay in business by charging these low prices,” Benedetto said. “We decided to hunker down and tighten our belts and do things other companies could not do or decided not to do. And they went bankrupt.”

In the wake of China’s decision, TFC has had to renegotiate with the region’s governments, charging more to process residents’ recycling.

It drew attention last year when it opted out of its Norfolk contract, citing China, only to work out a new agreement just recently after a survey showed citizens’ overwhelming support for the program. Chesapeake is now “seriously considering” ditching its program.

Yet China’s decision opens the door for economic development here. Updated paper mills are opening, and Virginia passed a bill last year that incentivizes larger recycling and beneficial use plants. The Department of Environmental Quality has been evaluating the state’s recycling strategies and just released a report on the topic.

The market shift from abroad has forced the industry to rethink its own practices. Where it goes from here is unclear. What is clear is that, like an aluminum can melted down and formed anew, the landscape in Virginia is morphing.

And your recycling may not be going where you think.

You’ve finished that last delicious slice of pepperoni. What to do with the box?

The bottom line is the boxes are usually covered in food waste, making them not recyclable. Some places accept the clean half, or even cardboard with slight grease stains versus caked in cheese. In Hampton Roads, however, it’s best to just throw it out. At TFC’s Chesapeake facility, Benedetto said, workers have to grab items so fast at the initial sorting station that if they see a pizza box, they don’t have time to assess the level of food contamination. It’ll just get tossed.

Years ago, recycling trucks would pick things up using “multiple streams,” meaning items would be separated by type from the very beginning.

Single stream, which is now nearly universal, combines everything. The benefit was it encouraged recycling by making it easier. The downside: when everything’s jumbled together, contamination is rampant.

Recycling programs began in earnest in the 1980s, in part following an infamous incident involving the Mobro barge. The ship had set sail from New York carrying thousands of tons of trash headed for North Carolina. Following public backlash, the state rejected the garbage and the ship traveled to Belize and back to New York, searching for a place to dump the waste.

“From that it’s like, ‘oh my gosh, we’ve got all this trash, where are we going to bring it, there aren’t enough landfills, we need to do more from a recycling perspective,’” Benedetto said. “And it was in the mid to late 1980s that throughout the country, including Virginia, they enacted recycling laws and mandates where a certain percentage of the waste stream had to be recycled.”

Since 1989, the state has set recycling targets for local governments. For more than two decades it’s been set at 25%, with an exemption for smaller localities that can have 15%. But even those numbers can be misleading, officials said. Though localities are required to submit their numbers to DEQ periodically, the department does not enforce the mandate beyond working to develop an action plan. Leslie Beckwith, director of the department’s office of financial responsibility and waste programs, said in the past few years, only one locality had failed to meet the mandate.

Virginia also takes in waste from outside the state — more than 5 million tons of it in 2018, according to a DEQ report — nearly a quarter of the total tons of waste disposed of in the commonwealth. Nearly 2.5 million tons came from Maryland, with about a million each also coming from New York and D.C.

“As you can imagine, this is bringing a lot of money in to companies that have the capacity, landfills here in Virginia,” Benedetto said. “There are a lot of lobbyists here that are protecting this free flowing of trash coming in. And anything that would keep that trash from going into Virginia’s landfills, they’re opposing with elected officials.”

Hampton Roads residents are not incentivized to reduce their trash, Benedetto added, because they don’t pay by weight.

The conundrum of the pizza box highlights another problem in the industry: inconsistent guidelines.

An official in western Virginia told The Pilot pizza boxes would be accepted. A northern Virginia official said just the clean half of the cardboard would be OK. And down in Hampton Roads, it shouldn’t be recycled at all.

“This is largely market-driven,” said Brandon Wright of the National Waste and Recycling Association. “Some communities it may be cost-prohibitive to recycle glass, so they don’t take it. Others maybe transportation costs are lower. Whenever there’s a market for something and it’s cost-effective, that will dictate what’s collected and not. It’s important to check locally.”

The Virginia Recycling Association is monitoring a bill moving through Congress that would harmonize what can and can’t go through recycling carts, said Monica Boehringer, the association’s vice president and recycling coordinator for the city of Manassas.

“That lack of consistency is confusing,” she said. Such a bill would be a “breakthrough.”

Here’s something that might surprise you: most glass that is recycled in Virginia ends up in a landfill — but still counts toward the recycling rate.

It’s crushed and used as alternative daily cover, or material needed to cover a landfill each day to protect from scavengers, control odors and the like. Only about 10% of glass food and beverage containers in the commonwealth actually get recycled.

It’s not that the material can’t be recycled — in fact it can be, endlessly. But there is no facility in the state properly equipped to clean and process the glass to the standards required to make it into new glass products.

“Glass is kind of notorious in the recycling industry” because it gets so contaminated in the single stream process, said Helen Lee, environmental program manager with the Alexandria Department of Transportation and Environmental Services. “The reason our glass has been hard to market is because it needs that next level of cleaning, that middle-level facility.”

It’s not affordable to send the glass to facilities out of state because the material is simply too heavy to transport.

“The practical implication is if you don’t have a beneficial use for it, it’ll get landfilled,” said Brett Vassey, president and CEO of the Virginia Manufacturers Association. “If there’s no place to put the glass, operators are taking glass cullet (crushed pieces) and using it for landfill cover.”

That’s in part what inspired the manufacturers association to push for a beneficial use law in the commonwealth, which passed and went into effect last year. It allows facilities dedicated to beneficial use, such as for glass, to be deemed manufacturers and take home economic incentives. The bill also directed DEQ to look at strategies for improving recycling in Virginia over the next decade.

One strategy picking up steam elsewhere is known as the “bottle bill.” It is essentially a deposit on recycling. For each bottle, retailers pay a deposit that is passed down to the customer when buying the product. Consumers can then return the bottles after use and get their money back.

“Virginia needs to get on board with that. There needs to be a better funding scheme where there’s an amount set aside for the recovery of those materials,” said Scott MacDonald, recycling program manager for the Prince William County Solid Waste Division. “Glass has longstanding market problems in Virginia.”

The Owens-Illinois facility in Toano purchases glass cullet from Iowa, which has a bottle bill, according to board minutes from the Virginia Peninsulas Public Service Authority.

Meanwhile in northern Virginia, a group of localities have joined together to try something new. They stopped accepting glass curbside but created a new drop-off initiative featuring large purple bins. The glass in the program is cleaner than what ends up in a local recycling center, and is sent to a new plant in Fairfax County where it can be turned into sand- and pebble-like material to be used in construction projects.

Here in Hampton Roads, Benedetto said, the main reason localities still want to divert glass from the trash is its weight. The more of it in the trash, the greater the fees to dispose of it.

At TFC’s Chesapeake facility on an afternoon last month, Benedetto walked up to a bale of recycled paper, featuring flattened products including Cheerios boxes and a Deschutes Brewery beer carrier. One of these bales weighs an average of 2,200 pounds. At the plant, they’re loaded into shipping containers and sent to the port to be shipped overseas.

Before, that meant mostly to China. Now most paper from Hampton Roads is exported to India and southeast Asia, Benedetto said. That change alone has introduced massive new transportation costs.

Because of its proximity to the port, TFC had been backhauling bales to China, filling empty containers that had unloaded here and needed the heavy weight to keep the ship stable on its return voyage.

“It was cheaper for us to send material from the ports here in Norfolk to China than it was to send it from here to Atlanta,” Benedetto said. The same isn’t true for India.

China still accepts near-pristine material — it dropped the level of contamination it will take to an extremely strict 0.5%. Cardboard coming straight from behind a big box store, for example, might qualify. But coming in after consumer use, through single stream, is nearly impossible. (Don’t toss shredded paper in the recycling, by the way, Benedetto said. It’s a contaminant.)

Paper now represents the economic opportunities that have emerged from the market shift. Mills that couldn’t have competed with China’s prices are opening domestically, including one north of Richmond. Cascades is spending about $300 million to upgrade the former Bear Island Paper Mill in Hanover County and start producing recycled containerboard in 2021.

This is what Benedetto calls the “urban tumbleweed,” the bane of recyclers everywhere.

“It blows out of our truck, it blows down the street, it comes into our facility, it jams up our equipment, it creates problem after problem,” he said. “If it gets through and winds up in the paper, it can create problems in third world countries. We do not want plastic bags.”

The bags are not recyclable curbside, part of a group of items known as “tanglers.” (Keep in mind, the same applies for putting all of your recycling in a plastic bag. The whole thing will be tossed.)

People can take them to most supermarkets, where they’re sent to be used often in construction, turned into decking. But it highlights how the focus should be on the first two steps in the green arrow process: reduce and reuse.

Here we come to the industry’s preeminent problem, made more urgent in the wake of China’s contamination crackdown: what’s known as “wishful recycling.”

Many people will optimistically toss just about anything in the bin.

“You put it in and hope for the best,” said Boehringer of Manassas. “That’s where it goes horribly wrong.”

It’s not just everything but the kitchen sink, she said — one time, she even saw an actual kitchen sink end up at the local recycling center.

While visiting the Chesapeake facility, a Pilot reporter saw products including a toaster, a light fixture, mulch, pottery, clothes, baby shoes, pillows, electrical cords and lots and lots of plastic. Christmas lights often come through around January.

“When in doubt, throw it out,” Benedetto said. “It would save us a lot of money and a lot of risk.”

About a fifth of everything that comes through TFC is tossed in the trash. It’s taken not to a landfill but to the incinerator plant in Portsmouth where it’s converted to steam energy for the Norfolk Naval Shipyard.

Here’s your mantra: Paper, bottles and cans. That’s all you should be recycling, Benedetto said.

For a long time, experts said, the industry mostly let wishful recycling slide because we could get away with higher levels of contamination.

“These instances of wishful recycling were never really curbed at the beginning,” Boehringer said. “When (China) imposed those restrictions, it was like a bucket of cold water. We’ve got to reduce the amount of contamination … overnight, and that is a problem.”

The cleaner the material, she added, the higher the value for a company like TFC that has to sell it once it’s taken from your doorstep.

Legislation to allow localities to enact bans on single-use plastics like those pesky plastic bags has been continually proposed and rejected in Virginia.

Among those hoping for such a law? The city of Virginia Beach. In feedback on recycling sent to the state this year, the city asked for help in pushing such legislation, as well as extending tax credits for businesses that eliminate single-use plastic items.

To remove the cap, or not?

Take it off, Benedetto said. “A cap off the bottle will increase the probability that the bottle is empty.”

Machinery at the facility sorts plastic, and bottles with liquid cannot be properly crushed. “For fun, take a plastic water or soda bottle and put on the lid,” he said in an email. “Jump up and down on it. I bet you can’t crush it.”

Our plastic bottles are typically sold to companies in the Carolinas that fashion them into new plastic products including polyester and synthetic fibers for carpet, clothing and other products, he said. Most items that are nontoxic with a neck, such as laundry detergent or milk jugs, can be put in curbside recycling.

Other plastics can’t, but that’s not what people tend to think.

“There’s so much misconception out there,” Benedetto said. “And there’s a lot of greenwashing from the industry.”

Those little numbers 1-7 can be confusing, he added, leading people to think anything featuring one of them can be recycled. Around here, he only wants 1-2 — again, just bottles.

That clamshell you eat your salad out of? Throw it away. Same with disposable cups and utensils. Unless you find specific local places that can accommodate recycling those products.

The plastics industry is “always wanting to get it to you as cheaply as possible,” said MacDonald of Prince William County, and it’s fallen on waste haulers, processors and local governments to pick up the expenses on the other side. Increasingly, pressure needs to be put on the people producing the plastic to help pay for it, he said.

“If they had to pay for recovery, they might think twice about how they design their product.”

This is probably the best example of a “closed loop.” Even after all the changes to the recycling industry, an aluminum can still goes from the shelf at your local mini-mart to back on the market within 60 days.

Take a Tradition Brewing beer can that you toss into a bin in Newport News, for instance. After getting picked up in a truck, taken through the TFC facility and pressed into a bale, the can will likely be sold to a mill in Kentucky or Illinois, where it will be shredded into chips, melted down and made into an aluminum sheet.

“Drink beer out of cans,” Benedetto pleaded.

For municipalities in the commonwealth dealing with the fallout of the China shift, the biggest hardship has of course been increased costs, particularly for disposal.

When a hauler takes the recycling to drop off, they have to pay a tipping fee similar to a landfill, said MacDonald in Prince William County. In Northern Virginia, they’ve seen those fees rise by up to three times. He’s worried “certain parts of the industry could collapse.”

Cities around the country have started sending recycling to the trash, with or without public notice. In Virginia, it’s mostly smaller and more rural localities that have had to do so.

“We’re all reevaluating our recycling programs,” said Teresa Sweeney, education coordinator for the Montgomery Solid Waste Authority and also president of the Virginia Recycling Association. China “forced everybody to rethink how we’re doing things. We are doing this because we need to survive.”

Among those who have ended or restricted their recycling programs since the market shift: Harrisonburg, Staunton, Bristol, Winchester, Waynesboro, Washington County, Lexington, Dayton, Broadway, Virginia Tech.

A particularly difficult blow came when Tri City Waste Paper Co. along the Tennessee border closed earlier this year, Sweeney said. A lot of nearby localities had used the facility and couldn’t afford to start shipping materials farther.

It’s a constant cost-benefit analysis, Boehringer said, between transportation cost and value of the program. “So they made the decision to discontinue.”

In urban areas such as Hampton Roads, it’s played out a little differently.

TFC announced it was pulling out of Norfolk last year, and the city had to scramble to get out a request for proposals, said Richard Broad, the city’s public works director. The company explained to city officials that it used to make enough money selling materials to cover the collection cost, but because of the newer slump in revenue had to add on a per-ton processing fee.

The city looked at what it would cost to mix recycling with trash and take it all to the Portsmouth plant instead, but a survey of residents — which got one of the highest responses ever for a citizen survey — showed overwhelming support for paying slightly more to keep the program, Broad said. The city council decided to keep recycling, and recently reached a new deal with TFC.

Broad said the council had also been afraid that “if we stepped out of the marketplace for a while, by the time they restarted” it would be difficult to retrain residents to recycle. The city did not want to send recycling to the trash without citizens’ knowledge, he said, as Portsmouth has done in the past.

Now Chesapeake is confronting a similar situation. Suffolk is currently evaluating proposals for its curbside program. Costs went up for the Historic Triangle when they secured a new contract over the summer. Others are sure to follow.

“It’s going to get worse before it gets better,” said Lee of Alexandria.

Katherine Hafner, 757-222-5208, katherine.hafner@pilotonline.com

There are many ways to achieve zero waste. In fact recycling will likely be only apart of your plan. What ways can you achieve zero waste? What materials can you recycle yourself at home? What products promote and contribute to recycling?

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Japan is Number 1: Recycling

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When one of our friends moved to Japan, one striking difference we noted was their (Japan’s) commitment to the environment: namely recycling. The OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (an intergovernmental organisation) named Japan as number one in landfills (in 2015). Japan has a rigorous recycling plan that leaves very little waste for landfills. Japan is also 19th in the world, according to OECD in 2015, for recycling and composting. We (the United States) are 54th and 35th respectively. But, with cities like San Francisco as shinning and positive and progressive examples, there is much hope for the United States to go from being the largest waste producers in the world to true leaders in progressive and positive environment change.

The City of Norfolk, VA, USA offers curbside or drop off recycling options for residence: Click Here to learn more! Composting offers the gardener a wonderful resource of nutrients for their plants. The same is true for grass (it is a plant. a large plant. but a plant). The fruits from compositing can provide one with chemical (depending on what you put in your composter) free fertilizers for their grass and save them a trip to the store by using sustainable resources such as leaves and used coffee grounds to feed nutrients back into beautifying their yards or feeding house plants. Countries like Japan and cities like San Francisco remind us just how possible and beneficial recycling can be.

What other ways do you use compost? How often have you bought fertilizer? What are the benefits and savings to you for recycling and composting not to mention the environment we live in?

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We Can Solve This: Climate Change

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We Can Solve This: San Francisco Leads the Way – Climate Change
Source: Climate Reality Project
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

This video reminds us just how possible it is to make negative climate change a thing of the past and how much we are already doing. As one of the largest (United States) producers of waste in the world, it makes us proud to see just how proactive San Francisco is. It is a beautiful city with good reason. Already many stores in the area have begun to make reusable bags a thing of the present while encouraging people to bring their own bags. On the Norfolk State University campus one can already see water fountains with refillable stations for water bottles like the one featured in the video. We have already invested in stainless steel water bottles made to last and with environmentally friendly materials (not plastic). In fact, many of the inititives to reduce waste are also a cost savings to both the consumer and the company as we move towards sustainable, realistic and options that are friendly to the environment that we live in.

In fact, these green solutions offer countless benefits: solar panels (which Prince Charles himself uses) as well as green roofs provide cost savings a responsible use of natural resources and fresh air not to mention the many other benefits green spaces offer humans. Recycling is nice. A nice way for tweens and teens to earn a little extra cash by turning recycled items in to establishments that still pay for these materials. The benefits are truly endless and a means that are sustainable. We could not be more excited about the example San Francisco offers to other cities and we are not far behind.

What are some ways that you contribute to the health of our environment? Do you have a water bottle? How often do you use it? We have been know to bring our water bottles to restaurants. Its not mainstream yet, but just wait.

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COVID 19: A view from Japan

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A former colleague of ours recently relocated to Japan from the Hampton Roads, VA, USA area. Upon arrival her and her husband were in quarantine for 14 days, the typical time for a COVID 19 quarantine. They are settling in okay. She reported that the Japanese measures for preventing the spread of COVID 19 were much stricter than here in the states. After their 14 day quarantine, they took a COVID 19 test via nasal and were cleared to come out from their hotel. During the quarantine they could not leave for even food. Food was brought to them by their sponsor. Indeed Japan has over 10 ways to recycle and are reported to have an extensive and strict recycling plan.

Source: Time

What could we learn from our neighbors? What if the COVID 19 cases numbers fell within 2 months in the U.S.? Indeed to this day some states are still experiencing spikes. What should a national plan for the U.S. look like? Japan was slated to host the 2020 Olympics, which was canceled because of the pandemic. Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing.

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.