I do not know about you, but I am rather dismayed by all the water that is wasted by homeowners and businesses sprinkling concrete, asphalt, brick, and other hard surfaces. In addition, the fact that the sprinkler systems continue to kick on and water the lawn while it is raining leaves me dumbfounded. It’s not like most concrete is going to magically sprout and flower — someday maybe, but to my knowledge not yet. Pervious concrete does not bother me so much, because I know the water will eventually reach the natural ground.
Water is precious resource and it seems awfully wasteful and expensive to be using it in such inefficient manners. At the very least, one would think the sprinkler installation firms could devise a method for not watering hard surfaces and the manufacturers could come up with a design that recognizes rainfall and shuts off. Am I wrong here?
Read Full Post »
Below is a list of the ten states that produce the most garbage per person in the United States. I am not proud to say my birth state, Indiana leads this shameful list, with Illinois following close behind. States that produced the most trash per person (per capita) in 2006 were:
- Indiana: 2.15 tons/person/year
- Illinois: 2.07 tons/person/year
- Tennessee: 2.01 tons/person/year
- Kentucky: 1.88 tons/person/year
- Colorado: 1.82 tons/person/year
- District of Columbia: 1.76 tons/person/year
- Missouri: 1.70 tons/person/year
- Maine: 1.66 tons/person/year
- Virginia: 1.60 tons/person/year
- Alabama: 1.52 tons/person/year
The national average was 1.38 tons/person/year. My current home state, Michigan was better than the national average at 1.25 tons/person/year, while Idaho produced the least trash per person at 0.85 tons/year.
Read Full Post »
In the community where I live, the primary local waste hauler offers residents who utilize their weekly curbside garbage pick-up service free curbside recycling every other week. This is a very nice and convenient option that includes items such as newspapers, boxboard, cardboard, #1 and #2 plastic, magazines, metal, and office paper/mail. The items do not have to be sorted which makes it even easier.
The free recycling option has been offered for more than three years now. After rapid growth early on, the participation rate leveled off around 55 percent. The rate has not budged to any extent for more than two years.The participation data leaves me perplexed and a tad frustrated. Why in world when you are offered free recycling would you not bother taking advantage of it? I have a few theories and then a suggested solution.
Theory 1: Some people just don’t care. Might as well face the fact that there is a certain segment of the population who has no interest (for whatever reason) in participating in recycling efforts. Either they find it to be a pain in the butt to save items for two weeks, they feel they do not have the storage space, or they are just plain old stubborn sticks in the mud.
Theory 2: Lack of awareness. No matter how much you blitz the public with advertisements and announcements, there is always a proportion of the population that either does not hear about the program, does not read the fliers, or are new to the area. Spreading the news through realtors is one way to notify newcomers. Short of employing Vulcan mind-meld techniques, I am not sure how to address the someone’s general obliviousness to announcements.
Theory 3: Trust. Some people just cannot believe that there is a service being offered for free. They think there has to be some kind of catch or gotcha in the fine print and they are not going to get hooked into a perceived ruse. Hey folks, it is not a joke or a ruse. Trust me, I drink Dr. Pepper.
Short of the community mandating participation in recycling, my suggestion for increasing participation in the free curbside recycling service is to charge those who do not participate a higher monthly fee for regular garbage pick-up than those who do participate in the curbside recycling program. Since those people who are not participating are adding more to the waste stream and using up valuable landfill space at a quicker pace, they should have to pay extra for doing so.
Read Full Post »
Have you ever tried to determine if a plastic item is recyclable? I have 20/20 vision for reading, but often the recycling symbol and corresponding number is so small I could use the help of a magnifying glass to read the number in the logo. On other plastic items like lids there is often no number on it whatsoever. Why not?
The conspiracy theorist in me sometimes wonders this is purposeful so people give up trying and throw the items away instead of bothering to recycle them. I sincerely hope this is not the case.
If a product is recyclable then it should be celebrated, not hidden in some far-off corner, written in hieroglyphics, or printed so small or lightly that you cannot tell whether is is a 5 or 6. C’mon plastic producers and molders, there has to be a way to create clearer, larger, more readable, and more uniform logos on your products to help promote the recycling.
- Today, 80 percent of Americans have access to a plastics recycling program.
- More than 2.4 billion pounds of plastic bottles were recycled in 2008.
- In 2007, more than 325 million pounds of wide-mouth plastic containers such as yogurt cups and butter containers were recycled.
- In recent years, the number of U.S. plastics recycling businesses has nearly tripled. Today, more than 1,600 businesses are involved in recycling post-consumer plastics.
- Plastics in the U.S. are made primarily (70%) from domestic natural gas.
- Recycling one ton of plastic saves 7.4 cubic yards of landfill space.
- During Keep America Beautiful’s 2008 Great American Cleanup, volunteers recovered and recycled 189,000,000 PET (plastic) bottles that littered highways, waterways and parks.
Hopefully, everyone will keep up the good work and more readable recycling labels will increase participation in plastic recycling programs across the country and around the globe. By reducing our nation’s dependence on foreign petroleum products and reducing the waste stream going into our landfills, recycling is one of the most patriotic things you can do. Remember the R’s of Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.
Now, if we can just get rid of those annoying plastic bags.
Read Full Post »