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Tue Feb 18, 2020, 03:11 PM

 

America's 'recycled' plastic waste is clogging landfills, survey finds

Source: The Guardian

Many plastic items that Americans put in their recycling bins aren’t being recycled at all, according to a major new survey of hundreds of recycling facilities across the US.

The research, conducted by Greenpeace and released on Tuesday, found that out of 367 recycling recovery facilities surveyed none could process coffee pods, fewer than 15% accepted plastic clamshells – such as those used to package fruit, salad or baked goods – and only a tiny percentage took plates, cups, bags and trays.

The findings confirm the results of a Guardian investigation last year, which revealed that numerous types of plastics are being sent straight to landfill in the wake of China’s crackdown on US recycling exports. Greenpeace’s findings also suggest that numerous products labeled as recyclable in fact have virtually no market as new products.

While the report found there is still a strong recycling market for bottles and jugs labeled #1 or #2, such as plastic water bottles and milk containers, the pipeline has bottomed out for many plastics labelled #3-7, which fall into a category dubbed “mixed plastics”. While often marketed by brands as recyclable, these plastics are hard for recyclers to repurpose and are often landfilled, causing confusion for consumers.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/feb/18/americas-recycled-plastic-waste-is-clogging-landfills-survey-finds

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Reply America's 'recycled' plastic waste is clogging landfills, survey finds (Original post)
brooklynite Feb 18 OP
hibbing Feb 18 #1
jimfields33 Feb 18 #7
Wellstone ruled Feb 18 #27
mr_lebowski Feb 18 #2
DENVERPOPS Feb 18 #8
csziggy Feb 18 #20
mr_lebowski Feb 18 #21
csziggy Feb 18 #22
Maraya1969 Feb 20 #67
Dem2theMax Feb 18 #3
OneCrazyDiamond Feb 18 #16
MineralMan Feb 19 #37
Blue_Tires Feb 19 #59
Steelrolled Feb 19 #63
ffr Feb 18 #4
IronLionZion Feb 18 #5
llmart Feb 18 #9
IronLionZion Feb 18 #14
llmart Feb 18 #17
IronLionZion Feb 19 #31
llmart Feb 19 #32
llmart Feb 19 #62
IronLionZion Feb 19 #64
OnlinePoker Feb 18 #15
DeminPennswoods Feb 18 #26
MissB Feb 18 #24
IronLionZion Feb 19 #38
bucolic_frolic Feb 18 #6
JudyM Feb 18 #10
bucolic_frolic Feb 18 #12
llmart Feb 18 #18
bucolic_frolic Feb 18 #25
matt819 Feb 18 #11
Proud Veteran Feb 18 #13
Bernardo de La Paz Feb 18 #19
RealityChik Feb 19 #51
Bernardo de La Paz Feb 19 #58
RealityChik Feb 20 #65
Bernardo de La Paz Feb 20 #66
Brother Buzz Feb 18 #23
BigmanPigman Feb 18 #28
YOHABLO Feb 19 #29
RealityChik Feb 19 #53
RealityChik Feb 19 #30
llmart Feb 19 #34
RealityChik Feb 19 #55
llmart Feb 19 #61
NurseJackie Feb 19 #42
NurseJackie Feb 19 #33
llmart Feb 19 #35
NurseJackie Feb 19 #36
IronLionZion Feb 19 #56
NurseJackie Feb 19 #57
YOHABLO Feb 19 #54
MineralMan Feb 19 #39
NurseJackie Feb 19 #40
MineralMan Feb 19 #41
NurseJackie Feb 19 #43
MineralMan Feb 19 #44
NurseJackie Feb 19 #45
NurseJackie Feb 19 #46
MineralMan Feb 19 #47
RealityChik Feb 19 #48
NurseJackie Feb 19 #49
RealityChik Feb 19 #50
calimary Feb 19 #52
Blue_Tires Feb 19 #60

Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Tue Feb 18, 2020, 03:19 PM

1. Not a suprise to me at all n/t

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Response to hibbing (Reply #1)

Tue Feb 18, 2020, 03:48 PM

7. Definitely not the consumers fault

Sounds like collectively we are doing great putting them in the appropriate recycling can. Sounds like city and states are negligent in recycling them.

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Response to hibbing (Reply #1)

Tue Feb 18, 2020, 07:33 PM

27. Because China,South Korea,

and other nations does not want this stuff . They are buried with their own.

USA's exports are mostly Waste Cardboard and Scrape Steel. The Cardboard comes back as Toilet Paper,Napkins,and Tri-Ply Corrugated Boxes which are coated for Moisture Protection. And you ride daily on or in the Scrape Steel being returned in your Kia and other Autos as well as Rolled Steel.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Tue Feb 18, 2020, 03:25 PM

2. Are municipalities keeping people updated on what the local facility can process?

Cause if they don't, most are going to keep attempting to recycle things that can't be, because they know for SURE it's all going to the landfill if they throw it in the trash.

But if an item's going to go there anyway, it's more efficient to send it there in the first place.

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Response to mr_lebowski (Reply #2)

Tue Feb 18, 2020, 03:54 PM

8. Waste Management

actually charges us extra for recycling...........don't expect them to say anything to customers.
They also own all the major land fills in our area..........imagine that.....getting more than normal rates for doing the same thing with most of all of our recyclables......What a con

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Response to mr_lebowski (Reply #2)

Tue Feb 18, 2020, 06:01 PM

20. We're told that if the plastic has a triangle with a number, it can be recycled

If they told us to only put # 1 and #2 in, that would save a lot of the money paid to sort the "recyclables" and make it more cost effective. It would also encourage us to buy less of the items that are sold in the containers that are NOT recyclable!

Many of the vegetables that my household buys come in those clamshell containers - we thought they were recyclable so didn't worry too much. From now on, I try to select vegetables packaged in more responsible ways - or not packaged at all.

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Response to csziggy (Reply #20)

Tue Feb 18, 2020, 06:22 PM

21. After years of always putting fresh fruit & veggies into the plastic bags at the store ...

About 5 years ago I decided ... why the heck do I need to do this? Now I only put real delicate stuff in them like cilantro (or small stuff like brussels or green beans). All the rest I just toss into the basket.

It was like a revelation when it occurred to me and I felt kinda dumb that I'd never thought of it all this time ... It was like 'that's how mom did it so that's what you do' ... lol ...

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Response to mr_lebowski (Reply #21)

Tue Feb 18, 2020, 06:35 PM

22. I need to make bags to carry vegetables

There are plenty of instructions on the internet how to do that with old tee shirts:


To make an expandable one:


I have some shirts that I could use, but my sewing machine is packed away, but I can do this one!

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Response to mr_lebowski (Reply #21)

Thu Feb 20, 2020, 01:51 PM

67. Whole Foods has been putting out those small light cardboard boxes to put your

vegetables in. You need to make sure they sit in the grocery bag or they will spill but even if they do it's not a big deal.

Otherwise I've been doing the same thing. Everything doesn't have to be in a bag.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Tue Feb 18, 2020, 03:33 PM

3. Gee, sounds like we could create jobs if we would

start doing the job China used to do for us.
And help the planet survive in the process.
But that would make sense.

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Response to Dem2theMax (Reply #3)

Tue Feb 18, 2020, 05:05 PM

16. Now that's an idea.

I wonder if it could be started in a place like this.....crowd started.

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Response to Dem2theMax (Reply #3)

Wed Feb 19, 2020, 10:36 AM

37. It wouldn't be an economically sound business, actually.

The sorting process, alone, is very, very labor intensive. Balancing labor costs against revenue from selling the sorted materials just doesn't work. That's why we shipped bulk recycling waste elsewhere. In the USA, labor is much more expensive than in other countries. So, it won't work here to process mixed plastic waste. There's no way to make the financial end work.

You can't pay hundreds of people $15/hour to sort plastic rubbish when the price for the sorted material is very low. You just can't.

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Response to Dem2theMax (Reply #3)

Wed Feb 19, 2020, 04:48 PM

59. The real issue of it is

nobody has discovered a way to make really fat profits off of recycling yet...

For years, China was more than happy to sift through a ton of discarded electronics to salvage like $2000 of reusable resources but the economics no longer work

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Response to Blue_Tires (Reply #59)

Wed Feb 19, 2020, 05:41 PM

63. I think you would struggle to make even a tiny profit

We need a paradigm shift. Wish I could think of it.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Tue Feb 18, 2020, 03:40 PM

4. Another lost opportunity for our country because Hillary Clinton didn't become the 45th POTUS

America, you've lost your way.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Tue Feb 18, 2020, 03:44 PM

5. America's liberals just want to feel less guilty

Last edited Tue Feb 18, 2020, 05:53 PM - Edit history (1)

without giving up the conveniences of life.

I try to reduce plastic use as much as possible. Like refusing to buy produce that has too much hard plastic packaging when I can just pick my own. But then there are plastic bags. I bring my own reusable grocery bags, but who brings their own produce bags?

Plastic is the devil. Even biodegradable plastic lasts longer than people think. At least paper and cloth are somewhat biodegradable.

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Response to IronLionZion (Reply #5)

Tue Feb 18, 2020, 04:02 PM

9. Love your post.

Except I think you meant "conveniences" and not "inconveniences".

But you are spot on when calling out liberals who claim to be concerned about the environment but bristle at the suggestion that maybe half the crap you are buying isn't even necessary. If everyone would just stop to think about a purchase before they buy it and ask themselves the difficult questions about why they are buying it, that would be a step in the right direction.

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Response to llmart (Reply #9)

Tue Feb 18, 2020, 04:52 PM

14. You're correct

and I would add that many hippie co-ops do have large bins of stuff that people can bring their own containers to fill up for a discount, like coffee beans, cereals, grains, etc. Shampoo bars exist. Soap bars are often sold without any packaging at all.

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Response to IronLionZion (Reply #14)

Tue Feb 18, 2020, 05:20 PM

17. I don't have a hippie co-op near me.

I buy bar soap from a bin at Whole Foods. No packaging necessary. My biggest pet peeve is packaging these days. Most of it is for the convenience of the manufacturer, not the consumer. Then don't get me started on the cashiers who want to take an already overpackaged item and put it in a plastic bag. They look at me cockeyed when I say, "I don't need a bag." I bought one item at Home Depot yesterday and just took my receipt and walked out the door and I'm sure they thought that was so unusual. All I bought were two LED light bulbs.

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Response to llmart (Reply #17)

Wed Feb 19, 2020, 08:48 AM

31. Whole Foods has 10 for $10 sale on GOOD soap right now

I stocked up

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Response to IronLionZion (Reply #31)

Wed Feb 19, 2020, 08:54 AM

32. Thanks for the heads up!

That's usually when I buy it. Ten bars lasts me for a very long time. I'll head over there today.

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Response to IronLionZion (Reply #31)

Wed Feb 19, 2020, 05:39 PM

62. You failed to tell me that you have to be an Amazon Prime member to get that price.

I had to go over that way today anyway, but boy I'm glad I didn't make a special trip for the soap!

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Response to llmart (Reply #62)

Wed Feb 19, 2020, 09:45 PM

64. I only started going to Whole Paycheck because Amazon seduced me with their discounts

and with 5% cash back on my Amazon Prime card those 10 bars of soap were $9.50 for me. I wouldn't go there for regular prices.

They have a sweet selection of oranges on sale this week too for prime members.

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Response to IronLionZion (Reply #5)

Tue Feb 18, 2020, 05:01 PM

15. They sell two different types of reusable produce bags at my local grocery.

I can't remember the price, but for a one time purchase it was worth it...if I remember to take them.

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Response to OnlinePoker (Reply #15)

Tue Feb 18, 2020, 07:23 PM

26. Local Giant Eagles are using the carrot approach

You get extra "fuel perks" (discount on gas at their Get Go locations) for every reusable bag you bring in which to bag your groceries.

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Response to IronLionZion (Reply #5)

Tue Feb 18, 2020, 07:00 PM

24. I bring my own produce and bulk bin bags

They weigh more then the plastic ones at the grocery store but I can wash and reuse mine a bunch of times.

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Response to MissB (Reply #24)

Wed Feb 19, 2020, 10:43 AM

38. That's a good idea, didn't know that was a thing

I'll have to order some online because I haven't seen them sold anywhere.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Tue Feb 18, 2020, 03:45 PM

6. Stop buying plastic to the extent possible

It's hard. But slowly alternatives are there. I switched cooking oil to olive oil in large cans and margarine in sticks. Oxyclean now comes in cardboard box and plastic bag. Washing soda and detergents in boxes too. Bleach can be crystallized in a smaller plastic bottle. I refuse to buy #1 plastic for vegetables and fruits. cherry tomatoes occasionally come in pressed board containers.

Excessive salt has forced me to abandon canned goods with the exception of fish or tuna. But, powdered milk is now in plastic bags instead of boxes. I don't know if it can make a difference. But I do not buy gallon jugs for food. Antifreeze and oil no choice.

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Response to bucolic_frolic (Reply #6)

Tue Feb 18, 2020, 04:09 PM

10. This. And speak with businesses you buy from to get them to look into switching to paperboard

or whatever would be a workable alternative. I’ve walked away from countless purchases because of plastic or foam packaging. REDUCE, reuse, recycle, in that order. It gets easier with practice

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Response to JudyM (Reply #10)

Tue Feb 18, 2020, 04:25 PM

12. It's frustrating and that's a good idea for sure

I've noticed blueberries. Time was they were in cardboard and very plentiful because our blueberry producing states - NJ and MN were growing a lot. Maybe they still do and we export a lot? Or maybe they're all growing McMansions now, who knows. But now the price is up, and we get blueberries in many seasons from South America, Peru i think it is. ALL in #1 Plastic. And the berries are small and bitter, either they are rushed to market or the farming/soil/climate are not within acceptable levels. Why are we pushing plastic containers on backward agricultural economies like Peru? They can't make crude paper-mache formed boxes like we used to have? Something's wrong there ... cost I suppose, but could also be the plastic industry and the banks squeezing growers into the cheapest - plastic.

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Response to bucolic_frolic (Reply #12)

Tue Feb 18, 2020, 05:23 PM

18. Michigan and Maine have many blueberry growers.

I really don't like the ones from so far away, and you are correct when you say they taste nothing like a blueberry is supposed to taste.

I loved that book by Barbara Kingsolver "Animal, Vegetable, Mineral" where she and her family lived for one year buying only local.

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Response to llmart (Reply #18)

Tue Feb 18, 2020, 07:07 PM

25. Thanks

As usual I should do a little research into these bold ideas I state. Maybe here in PA we're no longer getting very many NJ crops. They keep building houses. Yes we do get local produce, from Amish farm country, but the biggest supermarket chains now carry them and price them high. Not sure if this is what's squeezing out local distributors.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Tue Feb 18, 2020, 04:23 PM

11. For decades no one really cared

It was just accepted. You bought food however it came, and you tossed the containers.

Well, that doesn't work so much anymore.

So we recycle.

Until the city or town says they no longer take something because they can't sell it to any recyclers, and they don't have the money to pay for it to be collected and dealt with (which usually means these days that it's being tossed).

My town no longer takes 3-7 mixed plastics or any coated cardboard, including cereal or cracker containers or coated milk cartons. That's a lot more stuff going into the landfill. Which, like most people, I don't know where our garbage goes. Waste Management picks it up, charges the town, and, poof, it's gone. That's no longer viable.

I have animals, and so I have cans and pet food packaging. Cans - no problem. Clean and recycle. So saintly.

Right now, I must have 100 empty cat, dog, and horse feed bags. #7. I've seen online that some people have created reusable shopping bags from these, and I commend them. But when grocery stores sell reusable bags for a dime or a dollar, there's not a lot of incentive for people to pay more for something like a reused horse feed bag. Plus I have neither the time nor the knowledge to figure out how to do this either as a hobby or to make a little money.

And the time is long past when we would just sort of write off the fact that we threw out food containers and just left it at that. Once more - and this is a shock, I know - the profits are going to the suppliers and the costs fall to the rest of us.

I don't have an answer. I try to reduce, reuse, and recycle as much as I can. I refill containers from the bulk aisle. I make my own yogurt and kefir, and mostly buy milk in deposit glass containers. I've cut down on plastic food storage containers and do what I can not to add to my plastic use. But that's not always, or even often, possible.

This is a very large problem, and it's only going to get worse.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Tue Feb 18, 2020, 04:41 PM

13. My town of 81000 has stopped recycling due to cost

They stopped when recycling cost went to $80 per ton versus $20 for landfill.Don't know if this was exact cost but it is 4 times as much.
They still want you to separate(even if every thing goes to landfill) and that is a little hard to understand.
Maybe they want us to stay in practice for when/if they resume recycling.

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Response to Proud Veteran (Reply #13)

Tue Feb 18, 2020, 05:34 PM

19. Perhaps they have landfills side by side and can mine the plastic landfill later. . . . nt

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Response to Bernardo de La Paz (Reply #19)

Wed Feb 19, 2020, 01:58 PM

51. Too much methane!

Landfills are not as benign as they once were. Toxic chemicals are added to speed up decomposition. And of course there's those pesky dioxin fumes that leak from the plastic stuff (that shouldn't be in landfills to begin with) to kill us faster!

I've read horror stories about land developers in Los Angeles building on top of old landfills too soon, turning whole neighborhoods into Superfund sites!

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Response to RealityChik (Reply #51)

Wed Feb 19, 2020, 03:39 PM

58. Plastic does not generate methane. Separate means you don't treat them the same.


You wouldn't add decomposition accelerators.

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Response to Bernardo de La Paz (Reply #58)

Thu Feb 20, 2020, 04:16 AM

65. Research says they do...

Both Reuters and Science daily (among others) state that everyday plastics in landfills Have been found to emit both methane and ethylene gases. In fact scientists have known it for quite a few years.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-global-plastic-climatechange/everyday-plastics-emit-greenhouse-gases-scientists-say-idUSKBN1KN01S

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/08/180801182009.htm

https://www.surfrider.org/coastal-blog/entry/new-study-shows-plastic-as-source-of-greenhouse-gases-potentially-contribut

There are dozens more article links. Easy to find.

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Response to RealityChik (Reply #65)

Thu Feb 20, 2020, 07:51 AM

66. Interesting. Thanks. I did not know that. . . . nt

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Tue Feb 18, 2020, 06:57 PM

23. I'm happy if it is kept separated and doesn't end up in the general land fill

These bale of plastics are a pain in the ass to to deal with, but the enterprising egghead who figures out how to efficiently use them is going to be a hero.

One man's trash is another man's treasure

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Tue Feb 18, 2020, 07:53 PM

28. Not surprised a bit.

At my school the custodian told me that all of those filled blue recycle tubs dumped into the "recycle dumpster" all go to the same place in the same truck as the non-recycle dumpsters. All the good that teachers and students thought they were doing was BS.

A neighbor told me that when you recycle paper the paper that has a sheen to it or anything with staples doesn't get recycled and it is a lie to the masses. I don't know how true this is but I wouldn't be surprised if it were.

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Response to BigmanPigman (Reply #28)

Wed Feb 19, 2020, 06:22 AM

29. That's just the point. All the work to recycle is thwarted by municipalities not giving a rat's ass.

 

They should be fined severely for dumping what should be recycled into a landfill.

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Response to YOHABLO (Reply #29)

Wed Feb 19, 2020, 02:25 PM

53. Recycling was originally pitched as an income generator...

For municipalities. It seems to have all fallen apart with the introduction of commingling (all recycled items in one bin). Billions were invested in sorting machinery, but nobody factored in consumer "wishful recycling" with either filthy items or non-recyclable plastics clogging up the sorting machines or contaminating whole shipping containers of supposedly profitable recyclable materials being rejected first by China and now by just about every country that used to accept it all.

Some of the first municipal budget cuts always seem to be in consumer Ed and outreach. So it's not entirely the fault of waste management. That's where we citizen volunteers come in to join advisory boards to help advance objectives that municipalities no longer have funding to provide. I myself am waiting for an acceptance letter from our county commissioner for a spot on such an advisory board.

I have anointed myself as the "Queen of Garbage". So go ahead...ask me anything and if I don't know the answer yet, I've got sources at the ready for rapid responses. Note that not all cities, counties or states are equal in their pursuit of waste management methodology, but the info is out there!

I am discovering that Americans have no idea how to "Recycle Right" Some of us just have to commit to showing/telling folks how to do it correctly. Once we know how, we are pretty responsible about recycling correctly. In its current state of contamination, the recycling industry is no longer profitable so that municipalities can't generate enough income to keep recycling programs running.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Wed Feb 19, 2020, 06:37 AM

30. Wishful recycling...

Greetings, all. While I'm waiting for acceptance for an appointment to our county's Waste Management Advisory Board I have engorged my brain with facts about the sorry state of recycling in our nation. Among the startling facts I uncovered:

1. Every time we engage in "wishful recycling", that is, throwing items we're not sure that belong in the recycle bin (but hope they are), we contaminate the entire contents of the bin resulting in being land filled instead.

2. It takes more than 100 years for plastic to decompose in landfills and longer in oceans and waterways.

3. So-called "biodegradable" and "compostable" plastics take almost as long to decompose as virgin plastic. Don't be fooled by corporate "GREENWASHING".

4. Recycled plastics, called bioplastics are actually more toxic than virgin plastic.

5. Never, ever burn plastic as yard waste. It releases cancer-causing dioxin gases in your environment. It is illegal to do so in many states.

6. If your recycleables are commingled, that is, everything is combined in one bin, all items must be clean and dry so items like bottles and jars don't contaminate cardboard and paper with liquids or even water, which produce mold If not, the whole bin has to be landfilled.

7. In America, less than 10% of waste materials that could be recycled actually are.

8. In the US, 40% of the food we buy ends up in the garbage.

9. Earth Day and recycling were actually invented by the beverage industry because they no longer wanted to pay out deposit fees on bottles and cans or be responsible for their disposal.

10. And did I mention plastic takes more than 100 yrs to decompose?

Too much work? Why bother at all? Well, if we don't reduce our wastestream, and soon, we'll be leaving our children's children a toxic globe of waste, or worse--a dead, uninhabitable planet.

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Response to RealityChik (Reply #30)

Wed Feb 19, 2020, 09:07 AM

34. My county's extension office used to offer a program in environmental stewardship.

It was patterned after their master gardener program. It only lasted for two semesters (a Republican legislature drastically cut funding to the extension units in our state), but I was in the inaugural class. After passing the class, each student had to commit to volunteer activities and accumulate 40 hours to receive their certificate. Most of the classes involved some sort of lecture or field trip. This was in the mid-1990's. One of the field trips was to the county's recycling center. That was one of the most informative trips we had. Maybe some recycling centers aren't as technologically up to date, but this one was impressive. They had massive machines to sort everything and humans who monitored what was sorted out as the conveyor belts moved. I had been into recycling since the 70's but by this time consumers were no longer asked to clean out the bottles/cans or remove labels which I had been so used to doing it was just second nature to me. As time went on, consumers weren't asked to do much of anything - just throw it in your bin for pickup.

The original slogan was and still is "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle". Americans need to focus more on the "Reduce" which in the early days meant, don't buy what is unnecessary. I still believe that basing one's trash pickup bill on weight would wake a few people up.

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Response to llmart (Reply #34)

Wed Feb 19, 2020, 02:49 PM

55. Might you reside in Washington state?

Home of the original Master Gardener program, developed by Washington State U in Pullman.

Our WSU Mason County extension Master Gardener Program DOES offer classes, seminars and white papers on composting. But otherwise our cash-starved county is on its own for waste management, a department that seems to be having a "Rodney Dangerfield moment"!

That's why it's up to us citizens to step up and lend a hand. It's one of the most golden thing a citizen can do right now. It's hands-on action that can help save the planet, one piece of trash at a time!

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Response to RealityChik (Reply #55)

Wed Feb 19, 2020, 05:33 PM

61. No, I'm in Michigan.

Our extension offices were gutted by one of the Republican governors. Then when we did get a Democratic governor, she had a Republican legislature that blocked everything she wanted to do. Seems to be their m.o.

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Response to RealityChik (Reply #30)

Wed Feb 19, 2020, 10:54 AM

42. Our food scraps get fed to the raccoons and foxes and opossum that live in the woods behind our home

... I'm thinking of getting a "critter cam" to catch them in the act and to see which ones are actually eating our table scraps.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Wed Feb 19, 2020, 08:58 AM

33. I wish coffee pods were made from the same cardboard as coffee cups...

... would that help? It would keep the dry coffee fresh, it could withstand the heat and hot water (for the 1 minute or so it takes to brew) and it could decompose in a landfill.

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Response to NurseJackie (Reply #33)

Wed Feb 19, 2020, 09:11 AM

35. Better yet, don't buy the pods...

if it's for your personal Keurig. They make a permanent basket that uses regular ground coffee.

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Response to llmart (Reply #35)

Wed Feb 19, 2020, 09:16 AM

36. No. I like the pods better. I prefer them over the baskets.

I've tried the baskets, but with my hands... it's not always easy. It doesn't taste as good and the pods keep the coffee fresher longer. (I buy the jumbo boxes at Costco.)

But it would be cool if the industry could come up with something other than plastic that is sturdy enough to keep the coffee fresh, that could withstand the heat, and that would decompose. Coffee-cup paper seems to me to be the thing that meets that need.

But, on the bright side... I do always take my totes in to every store and I refuse plastic bags... I don't even use the thin lightweight plastic bags in the produce dept (except when the brocolli is wet.)

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Response to NurseJackie (Reply #36)

Wed Feb 19, 2020, 02:56 PM

56. There are paper k-cups out there

it's made of material similar to tea bags so the coffee won't stay fresh nearly as long as the plastic ones. Ask at Costco if they stock it. I bought some from Amazon years ago when I worked in an office that used Keurig. Don't remember the brand but it tasted great. You can search for compostable or biodegradable K-cup pods and see several options.

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Response to IronLionZion (Reply #56)

Wed Feb 19, 2020, 03:05 PM

57. I did try those... but the coffee went stale too quickly.

It was a "K"-bag in a ring... without the "cup" part to keep things fresh. You really do need to keep them stored in an airtight container rather than a K-cup tray organizer or a k-cup spinner organizer.

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Response to llmart (Reply #35)

Wed Feb 19, 2020, 02:30 PM

54. Just brew the coffee. Recycle the filter paper and use grounds for fertilizer

 

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Response to NurseJackie (Reply #33)

Wed Feb 19, 2020, 10:44 AM

39. A relative gave us a Keurig coffeemaker.

Once we ran out of the pods they also gave us, though, we donated it to Goodwill, and returned to our use of a drip coffeemaker that uses paper filters. That saves us a lot of money and generates almost zero waste. The spend grounds go on the lawn, and the paper filter into the trash can.

Is there a difference in taste? Sure, but I don't notice it unless I do a comparison test on the spot. Our coffeemaker has a vacuum carafe, so the coffee doesn't get reheated over and over again until it is used. One 12-cup pot in the morning supplies our needs for caffeine through the early afternoon.

Frankly, I'd be almost as happy with a percolator that produces no waste other than grounds.

We are spoiled by our insistence on convenience.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #39)

Wed Feb 19, 2020, 10:51 AM

40. We have less wasted coffee. I also enjoy being able to make teas and hot cocoa.

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Response to NurseJackie (Reply #40)

Wed Feb 19, 2020, 10:53 AM

41. Yes, it is very convenient, indeed.

I hope someone bought the one we donated.

Here in St. Paul, MN, we have a small recycling wheelie bin. We're very careful to put only items in it that are actively recycled. We check each item and compare it to a list of things that do get recycled and not just sent to the landfill. There is weekly pickup of that bin, which we can fill unsorted. Ours goes out to the curb no more than once a month. We try not to buy things with packaging that is not recyclable. We try, but it's difficult.

K-pods are not a huge source of unrecyclable waste, but they are a source. Paper coffee filters can't be recycled, but they degrade quickly.

It's a choice. It's always a choice. Convenience or less waste. That's the equation. I choose less waste.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #41)

Wed Feb 19, 2020, 10:57 AM

43. It's also great in the camper trailer.

On-demand coffee is better than scorched or scalded or bitter-old coffee. Only... I didn't buy an actual keurig for the camper. I got a knock-off brand that doesn't even have a hot-water reservoir. One cup in, one cup out. It's a little slower, but when you're camping... what's the rush?

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Response to NurseJackie (Reply #43)

Wed Feb 19, 2020, 11:02 AM

44. We use a French press coffee maker in that case.

I'm not criticizing your choices. I'm explaining mine. BTW, I expanded the post you replied to.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #44)

Wed Feb 19, 2020, 11:03 AM

45. Oh, I understand that.

I'm not criticizing your choices.
Oh, I understand that.

I expanded the post you replied to.
Thanks for the headsup.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #41)

Wed Feb 19, 2020, 11:07 AM

46. I find a balance. I use kcups, but I also never use plastic grocery bags.

I even avoid plastic fruit-vegetable bags (unless the broccoli is wet) at the grocery store.

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Response to NurseJackie (Reply #46)

Wed Feb 19, 2020, 11:16 AM

47. I use paper bags at the supermarket.

I save them, putting them neatly inside another bag. Then, when I have several bags full, I take them to a local thrift shop, which saves money by putting customer purchases in those bags. At least they get one additional use.

We recycle plastic produce bags at the supermarket. They have a bin for them. I don't actually know what happens to them after that, of course. I hope they make their way back into the chain.

There's no easy answer. We could go back to walking down the street and carrying our purchases home in mesh cotton bags, but three are no stores down my street. It's complicated.

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Response to NurseJackie (Reply #33)

Wed Feb 19, 2020, 01:22 PM

48. An alternative Kcup...

We bought a dozen refillable Kcups Yes they are made of plastic, but our first batch lasted 3 years. Buy them online. I've never seen the refillables in stores.

Yes u have to dump the grounds, clean them and refill them but soon becomes acceptable habit. SOOO much cheaper too. An buy 3 lbs or more to 1 box of Kcups from Costco.

The coffee grounds go into a container which is then dumped into my azalea flower bed or distributed along the perimeter of the veggie garden to repel red ants later in spring.

Haven't bought Kcups since 2016!

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Response to RealityChik (Reply #48)

Wed Feb 19, 2020, 01:28 PM

49. Thanks! I tried them but didn't like the results.

I appreciate the freshness and ease and convenience for these old hands. I make it up by drinking less coffee, by buying "fair trade" Newman's Own coffee at Costco, and by not using plastic bags at checkout. I always bring my totes.

I haven't gardened in years. I'm jealous of you. I remember how rewarding it was.

I haven't seen red ants (fire ants) since I moved away from the South. Here in this part of MD, I've only seen those tiny black "sugar ants" or the large black "carpenter ants". In all my years, I'd never heard that coffee grounds were a good repellant for ants. Interesting to know.

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Response to NurseJackie (Reply #49)

Wed Feb 19, 2020, 01:50 PM

50. My taste buds not as refined as decades ago...

Besides, I put so much stuff in my coffee, flavor differences are masked anyway! Drinkers of black coffee can always taste the nuanced differences.

We retired in the country. Gardening is now my sedative to counter the stresses of Trumpland, where we are the only progressives in our entire neighborhood.

Shhhh! Don't tell anyone tho, ok? Or we might be greeted by neighbors burnishing pitchforks. And I'm sure they won't be there just to help me weed the garden!

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Wed Feb 19, 2020, 02:18 PM

52. I use as many as I can in my craft room.

For bead sorting, especially. Also, for sorting various kinds of seed pods and “pine” cones - particularly itty bitty ones from hemlock and redwood trees. The divided ones are perfect. And the ones with lids are even better - for when the cat jumps up and knock’s something over.

The BIG lids - like on the large Coffeemate containers and other stuff? Lemme Tellya!!!

I did crafting sessions with kids, and even one with some ministers and in-home nurses during a weekend retreat called “Care for the Care-givers.”
DAYUM that was great! I gave each person one of the big lids. That was for a face. The project was: make a self-portrait! OR a character face of some sort. And for facial features and ears, we had a larger plastic or styrofoam container of soda can pull-tabs, water bottle lids, pipe cleaners, odd beads, bottle caps, drinking straws, twist ties, little plastic stirrers and scoops, and more.

We had more fun than we could have imagined! It actually turned out to be an hour of permission to go ahead and be silly! These adults especially were allowed to let go, “let their hair down” as it were, and just PLAY. For an hour. To let go and relax and just indulge, away from what “The Little Prince” referred to as “matters of great consequence”. And they LOVED it! Everybody connected not just to their own inner child but to their inner scamp. And they proudly showed off what they made, which were each almost ridiculously creative!

We never did get around to making snakes and fanciful animals with the toilet paper tubes, though...

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Wed Feb 19, 2020, 04:49 PM

60. As "that guy" who has been making

his home and workplace recycle for years, this angers me greatly. It's like I've been a fraud all this time.

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