Recycling is one of the best ways that a community can help boost the economy, preserve the environment, and encourage sustainable manufacturing, according to the nonprofit Recycle Across America.
A seemingly simple in-the-moment decision—to recycle or not to recycle—can impact the short-term future (by saving us money), and has the power to alter the earth’s long-term health. Recycling will affect our future families’ experience on this planet.
One far-out example: an aluminum can that is thrown away will still exist 500 years from now, according to Recycling Revolution.
Reusing goods helps to reduce trash transportation costs and stops throw-outs from occupying landfill space. Reusing and recycling also mitigate the chance of rubbish clogging up our planet’s precious waterways and oceans.
Plus: For many materials, recycling also conserves fresh water up to 95 percent compared to other manufacturing processes.
Community recycling solutions are more important than ever.
Billions of dollars have been poured into recycling companies, symposiums, awareness campaigns, and sorting technologies in the U.S. While that’s been a great step in the right direction, recycling levels have not improved in two decades, according to Recycle Across America.
To keep pace with the inevitable accumulation of more and more trash, we need a grassroots approach.
Here are ten ideas for community recycling programs, which can help keep our planet healthy and sustain our natural resources…
The process includes these six steps: bringing together a team, planning, selecting the materials, figuring out the collection and processing, and mitigating waste at its source. ( For more details, see the Earth911 list, here.)
For instance, in Denver, CO, Denver Recycles is the name of the government office that deals with recycling. Denver Recycles hosts a calendar with recycling events, a list of drop-off locations, and an online directory with information on how (and where) to recycle specific items.
With a quick Google search, you can call up your local city government, ask how you can help to promote or compile similar key information. Brainstorm ways that you can get involved.
This goes two directions! If you go on Craigslist or to your local Goodwill or Arc Thrift stores you can find a plethora of barely-used furniture. Furnish your home on a budget!
Then, when you relocate again, merge households or receive a gift card to Pottery Barn, etc. just donate or sell your used furniture back into the pool.
Research your local government online to see what events are listed on the calendar, or give them a call.
Contact the local schools. Meet with the green or recycle-focused clubs and help them host a drive for recyclables. Students can raise awareness, learn about recycling, and the club leaders can offer incentives for the most recyclables collected. The event can even become annual! Now, that’s true sustainability.
Start with a pilot program that involves your local circle of friends: ask everyone to bring over the clothing they no longer wear. Pile it up in the living room. All items are free for the taking. Everyone walks out with new, used goods and the remaining items can be donated.
Now, repeat: ask all of your friends who attended your clothing swap to arrange one with their other circles such as family members, colleagues, or teammates.
How does this work? Set a weekend when all of the houses in the neighborhood sell items from their own garage! Hang up flyers in local coffee shops and restaurants to spread the word beyond the community. Start a Facebook page or get a local real estate company to host a page on their website. (For instance: Check out the Stapleton Community Garage Sale page.)
Yes! You can donate your car. It might be worth it to you, rather than spending time trying to sell it. Plus, it can help to support a great cause, such as the Veteran community.
Get involved with the local gardening community—which can include composting, helping out with after-school programs, and starting your own crops. (Growing food locally is good for the environment, too.) Check out Denver Urban Gardens for more ideas!
Electronics and e-waste can contain toxic elements, so, by providing a convenient way for your community to recycle them, you’ll be mitigating harmful waste. Have people bring larger ticket items including kitchen appliances (think microwaves and toaster ovens) and everything else from television sets to old computers.
You’ll need some help: get the local school district, local recycling companies, and a host location—such as a church or town hall—involved. Also do some research on facilities near you with e-waste recycling solutions to help you finish the project safely.
We hope this post has inspired you with new ways to make a difference!
General Kinematics provides the equipment needed to recycle safely and effectively. If your recycling project requires industrial-level equipment, or if you need help navigating the equipment available, contact us!