Posts filed under 'Recycling'
To me first and foremost it means to be economical. I believe that quite frequently by being frugal you are also minimizing your environmental impact. By spending less you tend to be consuming less. You are purchasing less single-purpose items and instead are challenging yourself to utilize multi-purpose items.
I am not an authority on sustainability. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area I vividly remember learning about recycling, No Dumping Drains to Bay campaign and seeing photos of seagulls with six pack soda rings around their necks. Of course who could forget the “If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down” campaign during the drought years! My philosophy is that I don’t want to lecture or guilt anyone into acting more environmentally responsible because it is ineffective if not internalize.
I do hope to present basic information that makes financial and logical sense. I recently had the opportunity to live outside of California and learned that there are many uniformed and uninterested populations. I am extremely grateful that the Bay Area is extremely progressive however the cause requires more than a small segment of practitioners to make a difference.
This is an avenue for me to reach an audience who shares the same commitment and hopefully those who are just exploring the topic for simple answers. My goal is to merely share with you topics I found thought provoking and tips that I found useful. The Internet and sustainability are two very daunting, especially when combined. This will also serve as my reference to keep the information I research straight and updated.
Most people are familiar with what is recyclable but often these NON-recyclable items end up in the bin. Each city’s recycling program varies in what they will accept. Almost all plastics are recyclable which is why you see that recycle triangle imprint. However, it is only valuable to the recycling center if there is a demand for that type of recycled plastic. With no buyer then there is no incentive to accept it for recycling. The system only works if the recycling plant is able to produce a quality product that manufacturers can utilize to produce quality products. Consumers won’t pay for inferior products so let’s support the use of recycled material by being responsible recyclers!
South San Francisco – 94080
Items NOT Recyclable (even if there is a recyclable symbol) – toss in trash!
- Glass jar metal lids
- Beer caps
- Water, soda, milk, juice bottle caps
- Aerosol can plastic caps
- Clam-shell plastic boxes such as strawberries and takeout containers
- Plastic shrink wrap around value/family packs of bottle water and soda
- Pizza boxes or any soiled paper
- Plastic coated drink boxes (aseptic tetra pak) such as juice boxes and broth/stock boxes
- Freezer food boxes which contain a plastic coating (refrigerated food boxes are recyclable)
Why is it important?
- Plastic bottle caps and clam-shell boxes are made of different types of plastic then plastic bottles which reduce the quality of plastic produced from recycled plastic bottles.
- Paper and cardboard soiled with food or grease contaminates the recycled paper. The process involves water (oil and water don’t mix).
- Extra Work – extra labor at recycling center to remove contaminates
- Put a labeled container next to the recycling bin to collect these NON-Recyclable items.
- Reduce consumption of single serve beverages! You are paying more for the packaging than the consumable product.
- Replace broth/stock with chicken/beef base. Why pay a premium for water? Save money and packaging!!!
One 16 oz Organic Better Than Bouillon jar $6.89 Costco
76 – 8 ounce cans ≈ $29.18 Costco
19 – 1 quart aseptic tetra paks ≈ $34.17 Costco
I welcome your comments on the topic!
July 21st, 2011
“On November 1st the state abruptly cut all processing payments to its more than 2,400 recycling centers including 20 in San Francisco. This was after an initial July cut of 85 percent. According to a report put out by Californians Against Waste, the move is projected to cost consumers $100 million in increased fees for beverages, lead to the closure of 1,100 recycling centers, and put 5, 000 people employed in the recycling industry out of work – many of whom are at-risk youth, the Los Angeles Times reported.”
This is sad news to hear that recycling programs are being cut back. The state of California is broke and I guess is trying to cut back basically everywhich way it can, but green jobs are important to keep, especially if it is helping troubled youths. There will also be less recycling sites due to the cutback in subsidized recycling facilities.
via SFGate and MissionLocal.org
December 5th, 2009
My girlfriend moved to Tempe, Arizona to attend ASU for her MBA and has realized that her apartment complex, Grigio Tempe Town Lake does not have recycling! Growing up in the bay area, we are very used to having recycling everywhere. It was shocking to us that apartment complexes did not have any form of recycling. The reason, we found out, was that apartment complexes had to pay to have recycling picked up in Arizona. The complex has about 500 units and it sounded horrible to us that there is so much wasted trash that could have been easily recycled. She will try to talk to management about getting recycling there but I would not be too optimistic since they will most likely not want to pay for it. The complex is about 2 years old and it is just sad that we would have to bring recycling somewhere instead of having it easily accessible.
On a recent trip to New Orleans, we also noticed that there isnt really any recycling there either. Walking in the streets, we can see that the bars and restaurants basically tossed all the empty bottles in with the trash. I am glad I live in California where recycling is pretty abundant.
August 18th, 2009
I am sure many people wonder what we can really recycle and put in the recycling bin and what can’t be recycled. Usually items that can be recycled have the recycle triangle on the item somewhere and if it doesn’t have it, then most likely it can’t be recycled. Different cities also have different recycling programs but for the most part, the items that cannot be recycled are usually pretty similar. For example, in South San Francisco where I live, we have just one recycling bin that we put everything which makes it really convenient for us. The items will get sorted at the collection center but it doesnt hurt to help them out some more.
Here are 3 links that have some pretty useful information from the cities of San Francisco, South San Francisco, and Palo Alto.
South San Francisco
Here is the most detailed list out of the three cities above of items that are not recyclable.
- Paper, plastic or foil with food residue
- Waxy/coated cardboard
- Aseptic containers (e.g., milk/juice cartons, drink boxes and pouches)
- Film plastic (e.g., plastic bags, shrink wrap, bubble wrap)
- Plate glass (e.g., window panes, mirrors)
- Ceramics, porcelain
- Light bulbs
- Glassware (e.g., Pyrex®)
- Hardback books
- Thermal fax paper
- Frozen food boxes/cartons
- (e.g., ice cream)
- Carbon paper
- Metallic paper
- Paper napkins/towels
- Tyvek envelopes (e.g., overnight mailing packages)
- Polystyrene (a.k.a. Styrofoam® blocks/”peanuts”, food containers/cups)
- Plastic pipe/tubing
April 13th, 2009
image taken from http://janeyvox.blogspot.com/
My friend Danny was back in town from Japan and was telling me how the Japanese have a pretty interesting recycling system. They separate burnable items which can include food and paper that get incinerated and non-burnables, which go to the landfill. Glass bottles, jars, and aluminum/tin cans are separated out and different kinds of paper and cardboard are also separated. Cardboards need to be cut up and bound together into a stack and plastic bottles need to have the labels and caps removed. This all sounds like a lot of work but it sounds like it is a good environmental system. Being in an apartment, my friend Danny has to bring his garbage downstairs and sort it all out.
In my building complex in South San Francisco, we just have two big blue recycling containers and we are suppose to just toss all our paper/cardboard and plastic/glass/tin containers into it. I assume they bring it all somewhere and it gets sorted? So I guess it works the same way here but other people do it for us. The only problem is that there are different recycling systems for different cities and districts and they are not all consistent. So we never really know what happens with our recycling. For example, San Francisco and Albany are two cities that I know have composting recycling but many other cities in the bay area do not.
August 17th, 2008