Miami Green Homes


a bit about…recycling.
December 1, 2009, 4:14 am
Filed under: Sustainable Living, Waste | Tags:

One of the best green practices you can do in your home is waste reduction. This does not cost you a dime and will have a great impact on making your home and your life more sustainable. It is a fantastic step towards green building and sustainable living.

 To start, look at your containers. In South Florida you should have a single stream recycling bin (typically dark blue). This will take glass plastic, metal, paper, cans and bottles. What is single stream? Single stream is the opposite of multi stream and makes it easy for the end user to recycle. In essence, all your goods go into one container and will be sorted at the plant. The down turn of this method is that less of the actual material will be valuable in the recycling process as it was likely ruined by some of the other items it got in touch with. The benefit is that more people are doing it and more overall volume is recycled.

The alternative is multi stream collection. This is the way Germany and other countries are doing it and they place the “burden” of separating on the user. Typical items to separate are newspaper, plastic (such as yoghurt cups), glass (there is also a mount fee for most glass bottles in Germany), compostables and other waste. Collection of the varying items varies by day. This system works surprisingly well in Germany but has found some resistance in most parts of the US… one day we will change, too!

 So what can you do if you consider going beyond the single stream system or are left out of the system entirely for now? Do your own multi stream. To start, get a little kitchen compost and, if possible, a outdoor area to then compost. There are also simple balcony ready contraptions that work quite well for your compost. If you have more than 2 plants, you will most definitely be able to use the compost “in-house”.

Next, sort paper. If you are a heavy newspaper reading household, separate the newspaper and save it for cleaning or shred it to mix into your compost. Consider donating some of the higher quality magazines to schools and medical offices.

Glass containers can be reused in many ways. I like to use them to separate and store my nails and screws, but they are useful storage for so many items that tend to clutter our closets, pantries and basements.

 How about leaving potential rubbish at the store? Most of the non-compostable and non-recyclable waste we generate is packaging. Leave it with the vendor and make sure to bring your own bags. There is no excuse to use plastic bags anymore. All grocery stores, as well as many others, offer reusable bags for very affordable pricing. Once you have it, make sure you put it in a place where you will not forget it, such as your back seat (and by all means, express yourself with your favorite team logo, charitable organizations, business logo, etc…, the options are limitless).

 

…and one last word…about plastic bottles. Avoid them, same with bags. Recycling helps, but not using them will help transform the marketplace and save our planet. The damage done by wasted plastic bottles to the earth, the oceans and wildlife is getting out of control and accelerated many of the problems we are facing. Do your part to send a message to the manufacturers to stop making disposable plastic products.

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