The importance of recycling cannot be overstated. Recycling not only helps to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills, but it also conserves natural resources, reduces energy usage, and can even create jobs in the recycling industry. Despite the benefits, many people are still hesitant to recycle or are not recycling as much as they could be. One simple solution to increase recycling rates is to set up a second waste bin at home, specifically for recycling.
Data shows that people with two waste bins are more likely to recycle. According to a report by Waste Management, households that have two bins, one for trash and one for recyclables, recycle up to three times as much as households with only one bin. This is likely because having a separate bin makes it easier and more convenient to sort recyclables from other waste.
There’s a common misconception that all waste is sorted before it ends up in landfills, but that’s unfortunately not always the case.
Sorting facilities, where waste is sorted into different materials for recycling, are not available in all areas, and even in areas where they exist, not all waste is sorted. This means that valuable materials end up in landfills, where they take up space and can potentially harm the environment.
However, the good news is that recycling facilities are becoming more common and advanced. There are now over 4,000 materials recovery facilities in the United States alone, which means that more waste can be sorted and recycled. In these facilities, materials are sorted by hand or using machines, and the recyclable materials are then sent to manufacturers to be made into new products. However, it’s important to note that not all materials can be recycled, so it’s important to check with your local recycling program to determine which materials are accepted in your area.
The sorting process involves several steps, including separation of materials by weight, size, and shape. Materials are then passed through various sorting machines and processes, including magnetic and eddy current separators, optical sorters, and hand sorting. These processes work together to sort materials by type, such as glass, plastic, paper, or metal. Once the materials are sorted, they are baled or otherwise packaged and sent to manufacturers.
It’s worth noting that not all materials are recyclable, and some materials are more challenging to recycle than others. For example, while glass is infinitely recyclable, paper and cardboard can only be recycled a limited number of times. Additionally, some materials, such as plastic bags, are challenging to recycle and can even clog sorting machines, so it’s important to check with your local recycling program to determine which materials are accepted in your area.
Despite these challenges, recycling facilities are incredibly effective at sorting out recyclable materials. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, in 2018, the United States generated 292.4 million tons of waste, and 69.9 million tons were recycled. That’s an overall recycling rate of 32.1%, which is a significant increase from previous years. The majority of the recycled materials were paper and cardboard, followed by metals, plastics, and glass.
By setting up a second waste bin specifically for recyclables, you can do your part in helping to reduce waste and conserve natural resources. It’s a small change that can make a big difference. Plus, it’s an easy and convenient way to recycle more. Simply place the bin in a convenient location, such as next to your trash can, and make sure to properly sort materials. Remember to check with your local recycling program to determine which materials you can recycle.