Ever since grade school the three R’s were taught.
Its something not many of us even think about it almost comes as second nature if something is recyclable throw it in the blue bin. Yet what can be recycled is not as clear. For example, do you know what the numbers within that triangle mean? Recycling becomes even more complicated when you move from region to region. Some places require you to split up paper and plastics others don’t require it. Even more worrying some areas don’t even have recycling programs to speak of.
To start with the numbers on the bottom of plastics indicate what type of plastic the item is made of. This is important as the recycling process for some of these types is different requiring even more sorting. Typically, these numbers span from 1-7 identifying the most commonly recycled items. Of these numbers 1 and 2 are the most common and are reused the most.
Once to the recycling plant these items are further sorted to then be recycled. Unfortunately, data shows that only 9% of plastics in Canada is recycled with a whopping 86% ending up in landfills. Personally, I found this shocking as the recycling doesn’t seem to equal garbage. The reasoning for this is the cost and complexity of recycling some of these items.
If you thought that was bad the issue worsens…. Somewhere in the Pacific Ocean les a massive garbage patch. Ocean currents from all around lead to this central point were a massive collection of items lies. This great garbage patch is one of many in our oceans. These patches pollute the oceans damaging ecology and the marine life.
Meaningful change needs to be made from the top down to lessen the impact of plastics in general. This includes policy changes on the side of the government encouraging corporations to switch to sustainable alternatives. Things that could help is using the same types of plastic across the board. This would greatly increase the number of plastic items to be recycle. Alternatives are also critical to the future. The production of plastics is quite harmful to the environment. The use of class or cardboard would also prove worthwhile.
In the meantime, there are many things you can do as an individual. Writing to your member of parliament would push sustainability and the environment further up the priority list. Choosing sustainable alternatives is also a great start. Try to purchase times packaged in sustainable methods whenever possible. The combined efforts of many individuals will provide massive impacts. Putting your hard-earned dollars to sustainable companies will also force the hand of large corporations to meet your needs. To go even further try to shop at stores like Full Circle Foods who focus on zero waste living.