The United States excels at a number of things, but it seems like recycling isn’t one of them. Even when the average American takes the time to use recycling bins, the waste still never gets recycled. These kinds of circumstances lead to a host of questions – what went wrong? Why hasn’t it been fixed yet? What can we do?
Where The Process Breaks Down
You might not think much about what happens to your recyclables after you’ve dropped the bin off at the curb. Unfortunately, contamination commonly occurs in bins.
It can be a result of different waste being misplaced in the incorrect bin (imagine not separating food and plastic waste). If a container that’s dirty with food waste spreads on the wrong material, the consequences can be severe. Entire batches of trash can be deemed unable to be recycled.
There are also several items that could never be recycled in the first place. If you leave such items, which are often plastics including utensils and containers, in the bin to be picked up, they typically end up in landfills or incinerated. Both of these outcomes are bad for the environment.
How Can Things Improve?
It goes without saying that a higher quality of recycled goods and items can set a better standard for industries in the U.S. Recycled paper is becoming more commonly used and is being processed to hold higher percentages of recycled paper per sheet. Put another way, recycled paper today might be up to 100% recycled, as opposed to much lower percentages in previous years.
Beyond that, the technology used to organize and secure material intended for recycling needs an overhaul. This is necessary to establish a market in the U.S with higher demand for recycling.
Businesses such as Mid America Paper Recycling Co and various government entities are looking for paper that has been recycled. They are also seeking out recycled building materials. At the same time, these institutions have been calling to limit the disposal of debris from construction jobs, as these materials can also be recycled.
The United States can still be at the forefront of the recycling industry. All it takes is enough people willing to change the market to adapt to our ecological concerns. The process will be slow-going, but we can all live in a world where the way we use the environment doesn’t destroy it.