Recycle Questions Need Answers

The recycling efforts of local jurisdictions or businesses can be well below what is required to adequately deal with today's grand consumption and waste.

We have come quite a long way with the recycling of much of the basic, large volume acceptable materials. These easily handled everyday items are paper, cardboard, cans, glass bottles and numbered plastics. The procedure is well defined and the routine well established; sort and put them out to the curb. And yet, many just do not care.

In some areas there will be more comprehensive programs, as here in our area there are advertised deposit stations for computer equipment and paint.

But beyond the primary efforts there is a general lack of public information or facilities for disposing of so many other materials, much of it hazardous. The results are mountains of environmentally harmful material going into dumps daily. With budgets in mind local governments may fail to promote the disposal of difficult to recycle waste, or perhaps provide no destination.

Turning a blind eye: To knowingly refuse to acknowledge something which you know to be real.
It appears that a majority of companies do not want the cost of recycling and so ignore it. It is a fact about doing business efficiently and within the law to maximize profit. Business will very likely hesitate to get involved with the handling of difficult to salvage products, if they are not required to. If they are directed to do so, they might not encourage it.

Having a cell phone to get rid of I visited two large chain store branches both of which had large displays containing dozens of these products. When I asked about disposing of one I got similar negative replies. One clerk simply answered; "We do not recycle."

It's an ongoing business-ethic dilemma that pokes up in so many marketing scenarios. Consider that you are the manger of one of those retail branches. To take the recycle challenge and make a positive contribution to society will result in a little less profit for your store. This could negatively affect your management standing in relation to fellow managers at other stores in the chain who do not take on the cost.

What do you do?
Attempting to dispose of objects that are not on your local, easily recyclable, basic list can be frustrating. Asking a friend or neighbor where to take odd types of plastic, small appliances or gadgets and you may draw a blank, or a response; "In the garbage."

AAA, AA, C, D, NiCad, Alkaline/Zinc-Carbon, Lithium, Nickel Zinc . . . .
Small batteries must carry a neat little bit of profit because display packages of various sizes can often be found duplicated throughout a store. But it is rare to see a disposal display anywhere. Granted some batteries may be hazardous while others not, but again the information is lacking.

We continually receive very persuasive advertising information on products we 'need' to buy, much of which we do not need and will be junk in a short while. The efforts to convince us to buy are immense, but where are the encouragements to reduce, re-use and recycle? The big corporate marketing machines need to be reigned in and efforts to promote a more sensible, sustainable existence must be emphasized, for the benefit of mankind.

Metro Vancouver Recycles. But there is information out there in the internet world and perhaps for your particular area. You gotta look for it. As I searched for information on the Greater Vancouver Lower Mainland I was quite surprised to find an interactive directory of reuse and recycling services designed to help answer the question “Where do I take this?” I was previously unaware of this. The site might not have a destination for a certain disposal concern, but it does show what is available.

Only recently I happened to be scouring through the front section of our local Yellow Pages and was surprised to find a 40 page EcoGuide with loads of detailed information on garbage disposal, recycling and going green. Very nicely done but we need have everyone to know it's there.

Across the pond, Kent County UK council has a lovely website with a strong interest in the environment and climate change, planning and land use, recycling and rubbish, wildlife and biodiversity. Take an online visit for some refreshing ideas. You may even wish you could visit in person.

Plastic, plastic, everywhere.
The quantity of post-consumer plastics recycled has increased every year since at least 1990. In 2006 the amount of plastic bottles recycled reached a record high of 2.2 trillion pounds. Plastic recycling is the process of recovering scrap or waste plastics and reprocessing the material into useful products, sometimes completely different in form from their original state.
Plastic information at Wikipedia including a Plastic Identification Codes table.

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