For years, instead of confronting our own issues with recycled waste, we’ve been taking the easy way route and sending it to China. As of January 1, 2018, China will no longer be accepting the majority of these “low-grade” recyclables. The ban is expected to cause major issues in Canada, the U.K, and other countries as they claim the materials being sent over are too hazardous to be recycled.
The impact is suspected to be largely negative as we now will be facing an excess of pollution, extra costs and a risk of loss of millions in revenue. According to The Globe and Mail, the Ontario region of Peel alone, has to pay an extra quarter-million dollars to trial different ways to increase the standard of their recyclables. China will no longer be taking items such as mixed paper, plastics and 24 different types of solid waste. We will need to make some serious changes in regards to how we decide to utilize these materials in order to avoid having them all end up in landfills. Cities will also need to find ways to replace the revenue they are expected to lose. The city of Toronto, for example, profits around $20 million a year off of its recyclables. That’s a lot of money to have to make up.
China has been unloading our recycling burden for too long, and now we are faced with the problem at hand and it’s time to get innovative. It’s time to make a serious change, and that change starts with us.
So what can do as individuals to decrease the amount of recycling that ends up in landfills?
1. MASON JARS FOR EVERYTHING
Consider, Q-tips, straws, toothbrushes, food wraps and bags, bottles, coffee cups, etc. You can even find a thin layer of plastic inside of some tea bags (gross!!). Grocery stores have more recently started wrapping fruits and vegetables in plastic with an addition of a polystyrene tray… because god forbid your produce gets into contact with your skin, reusable bag or you know… fresh air.
Be an earth-conscious consumer and invest in reusable products (like mason jars) that limit your use of plastic. Reusable (BPA free) water bottles, shopping bags, coffee cups, loose leaf tea, beeswax food wraps, bamboo toothbrushes and purchasing your produce from grocers and services that make an effort to reduce their plastic use is both easy and can often be more economical. When purchasing your groceries, consider places such as your local farmer’s market or services that deliver fresh, local goods to your door—which will also save your time and gas.
3.BUY PRODUCTS IN BULKBuying products in larger amounts reduce both the cost and the need for an individual packaging for smaller purchases. Buying bulk products also eliminate the need to continuously go and buy more. Purchasing bulk products in waste-free packaging, now that’s a step above and beyond. Look for bulk items like spices and dried beans in containers such as reusable mason jars and show the world you’re serious about recycling.