China's National Sword Policy

Changes in the Recycling Industry

Big things could be around the corner as China has instituted their National Sword Policy - reducing the level of accepted contamination in recycling coming from overseas. In our home base of Minnesota, that is less of an issue as we have a fair amount of local and regional markets who take our recyclables and make them into new products. 

California is a different story. Resource Recycling recently had an article that stated "About 85 percent of mixed paper and OCC (old corrugated cardboard) exported out of California has been bound for China in recent years" and that "62 percent of the (15 million tons) of exported material went to China in 2016". What that means is that millions of tons of recyclable materials could be heading to the landfill. Read the full article here.

Do your part. Know what recyclables are accepted by your hauler. Implement standardized signage from Recycle Across America at your schools, churches, offices, sports fields, etc. so that we can give everyone the chance to #RecycleRight. And let your elected officials know that environmental causes and green jobs are important to you and to our communities!  

Example of Recycle Across America's standardized signage in use. These signs are used at U.S. Bank Stadium, MSP Airport, the MN State Fair, throughout the National Park System and countless other locations across the country. If you fly from Orlando to JFK in New York, you'll see the same signs on the bins, which will help you #RecycleRight   

Example of Recycle Across America's standardized signage in use. These signs are used at U.S. Bank Stadium, MSP Airport, the MN State Fair, throughout the National Park System and countless other locations across the country. If you fly from Orlando to JFK in New York, you'll see the same signs on the bins, which will help you #RecycleRight

 

Source: https://resource-recycling.com/recycling/2...

America Recycles Day - Nov. 15, 2015

November 15th is America Recycles Day. It is a day to celebrate our nation’s progress in recycling, but also reflect on its problems. The New York Times op-ed written last month by John Tierney sparked outrage nationwide and received a whopping 487 comments on the web. Although there are MANY holes in his arguments and he seems to express an opinion against recycling, John acknowledges there is a lack of incentives for recycling in America.

An Economist article published in April discusses the state of recycling in America. Companies want to use recycled material, but it is costly compared to virgin material AND there is a low supply. The country’s recycling rate has been stagnant at 34% for 2 decades. Americans THROW AWAY $11.4 billion of recyclables per year, even though recycling an aluminum can emits 95% less greenhouse gas emissions.

Let's face it, America, we have a recycling problem.

Recycling has great economic, environmental, and community benefits, SO let's do something about it! When you throw something in the recycling bin, you are consciously making an effort to reduce your carbon footprint. This great ad campaign by Keep America Beautiful captures what could happen if we simply closed the loop-

It’s not complicated. You don’t have to rally your politicians or stop using your car. We just have to put materials in the right bin AND tell your friends and family to join. For America Recycles Day, take the pledge here.

And on November 15th, find a way to increase your personal recycling rate by reusing waste in some way, bringing food residue to a compost drop-off site, or making signs on your garbage bin that read- "Can I be recycled?"

And that, America, is how we RECYCLE.

Photos in a weeks worth of trash...

Photographer, Gregg Segal beautifully captured images of people in a of weeks amount of their person waste contribution (which the EPA estimates at 4.38 pounds per person, per day). He has ongoing series, “7 Days of Garbage,”. Segal hopes "...the series is guiding people toward a confrontation with the excess that’s part of their lives. I’m hoping they recognize a lot of the garbage they produce is unnecessary".

See the related Slate story here

This is a great step in getting waste out from behind the building. We need to be aware of what our contributions really are and trust that people can change. Let's start from source reduction, thoughtful purchasing, getting food into hungry people and animals and only then, to compost. We can do better.