Remember reduce, reuse, recycle. We sorted and crushed. Then came single stream recycling. Newspapers, cans, plastic, all in one bin. The volume of waste saved from the landfill surged.
I attended a conference Recycling in Transition by the Illinois Recycling Association. Recycling has run into a barrier. Todd Shumaker from Midwest Fiber spoke, as did others, about problems with single stream recycling, primarily contamination.
We need to think empty, clean and dry. Recycling companies take pride in producing a high quality re-usable product. Now although supply is up, demand is down. New domestic markets are needed since the loss of the China market. Glass markets are closing.
I also learned not to crush plastic bottles, aluminum cans or metal cans, but do flatten cardboard boxes. Sen. David Koehler explained the cost of recycling electronics is high. Plastic bags create a huge problem but they are so ingrained in our culture, it is tough to try to pass a bill to ban them. Some states charge 10 cents per bag. Also some states have bottle bills: five cents per bottle. But there is a huge neglected resource: food waste could be made into compost and sold, in addition to what is called yard waste.
What a leap forward the proposed Macon County recycling center would be. Let your elected officials know Macon County Environmental Management could use more staff including an educator keep us tuned in on how to recycle. Urge our officials to move forward with construction of the proposed recycling center. Let’s do it and do it right for our kids and grandkids. Recycling and composting equals dollars save and dollars earned.