Posts Tagged ‘Zero Waste’

I was recently asked by local media to give some input on the current status of recycling. I know most of my readers like to get updates on GREEN issues so I am sharing my letter with all of you as well.

Here is what I had to say.

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Thank you for asking for my input on the current state of recycling.
I coordinate park cleanups and recycling drives north of Tyler in the surrounding areas north of Tyler State park…
I really encourage you to include an early paragraph in your article that explains that the root of the recycling problems in Texas originate from political candidates driven by funding from those who insist the possible recycling incentives actually be re-directed to other programs that benefit industry growth.  Thus there has never been and may never be any state funding to support and off-set recycling related businesses. Texas may be the only state to never initiate funding for recycling programs at the state level. Thankfully several cities step up and absorb some recycling program related expenses but this is always visible in the tax rates that pay for it.
Despite this main cause, Rivers Recycling in Liberty City pushes forward to provide the areas recycling services even though they barely break even financially.
The City of Tyler does a great job to process recycling and I encourage you to mention where they send their items and some of their financials.
Another key fact in your article should be to mention the global demand shift and the economic trends. It is more efficient and profitable to produce most manufacturing and packaging from new/clean sources than it is to deal with recycled vendors so the majority of purchasing agents for recycled materials represent only companies that have a GREEN Policy where they feel it is their ethical duty to use recycled material sources at a premium cost.
The majority of USA recycling is shipped to international buyers. The largest buyer until 2016 was China.  China has now changed their national policies to discontinue purchasing most American recycling and other products partially in response to the current political cabinet’s trade war tactics. Every recycling facility is now nearly full to capacity and actually sending most of our nations reusable materials off to be incinerated or buried instead.
Their input on how their business model has been affected by all of this would be a crucial inclusion in any article as well.
We must do our part and reduce and reuse above all before recycling. If our articles and media posts do not highlight this need for a paradigm shift in our own habits, we are not doing our duty.
Those who ignore what is happening and refuse to change their buying habits in order to generate far less waste are abruptly destroying life as we know it. The world is being buried in trash more and more every day and the world portrayed in sci-fy films like Wall-E and Idiocracy are proving to become reality much sooner than anticipated.

 

 

Lately I have had a lot of cleanup projects from construction sites that require taking treated wood and asphalt shingles to a construction recycle station. This facility is one in the same as where the city of Lincoln Nebraska has private home owners dump anything not picked up by the main city trash collection system.

http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/TOPICS/EXTURBANDEVELOPMENT/0,,contentMDK:23172887~pagePK:210058~piPK:210062~theSitePK:337178,00.html

http://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/201203/grapple-trash-bible-126.aspx

Every time I go it makes me shed a tear as I have to witness the perfectly good items being placed into the same waste collection system instead of the local donation centers. In the not so eco-friendly communities spanning nearly everywhere east of Las Vegas, the average amount of trash placed improperly is close to 6lbs PER PERSON PER DAY compared to less then 1lb!!!

Why are the eco-smart communities generating so much less waste?

It is because of the combination of charging collection rates based on weight AND the system in place which makes it easy to take your recycling in AND GET PAID FOR IT!!!

I feel like my native American friends, who shed a tear watching the Public Service Announcement liter commercial from 1971. (note the actor was Italian)

Even more then the re-useables, are the recyclable items which make up over 80% of the total of all things. The remainder is construction related and even about half of that is wood that should be mulched or burned for heat.

I just can’t stand it because this is nearly the last step in a products life cycle and the United States efficiency of use is dead last in comparison to the worlds leading countries. Our waste of finances to acquire un-needed items and push the economy further out of control alters the general public’s conception of reusing items. Instead of making an effort to find a new home for something we don’t want, most of use are just tossing it into an inappropriate waste collection system.

My visit resulted in rescuing a perfectly good $40 soccer ball from an older man tossing out his grandchildren’s unused toys. On the other side of me was a lady in her 40’s tossing over 20 paintings, frames and canvas’. I looked at what I could reach to see if the canvas was quality hemp to reuse (paint over) but passed on them. The next person that pulled in tossed a fireplace set with stand $40, several new baseboards at $10/each and about 10 more large aluminum framed prints and paintings that someone paid a couple hundred for. There was even a bible in the pile but out of reach.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2012/06/daily-chart-3

Recycle

 

** For the items that fall in the gray area between degradable trash and recycle approved…. it is best to clean them, group together if needed and leave them at a public recycling drop off station. Even if they are not on an approved “list”, the sorting agency will get them to the right processing area.

The only real common household trash is hygiene and medical products. Trash bags and trashcans don’t even belong inside the house and their proper use should be for sorting recycle materials. 50% of the average full trash bag/can is packaging that is recyclable.

Degradable food scraps should be placed into a earthworm compost pile and most everything else is recycleable or safe to burn.

What is My BIGgest Moral Value?

Most would say it is a combination of my dedication to sell my possessions and apply my wealth towards causes in need of life saving help.

 

Some say it is my ability to live free on the road for the past 8 years and counting while giving my time and labor to volunteering and philanthropy organizations.

 

Floating my consciousness above these physical attributes which lie in the realm of RE-ACTING, I am able to examine the deeper issue.

Looking deep into the ROOT of the problems faced by the Causes we help, there is an association with money and it’s use to acquire “things”. These things then eventually create stress or other problems by transforming into a bond of addiction between the thing and our life processes.

 

SO MY BIGgest Moral Value is my dedication to the first step of minimizing the CAUSES of problems in our life which is to STOP acquiring forms of WASTE.

 

If you are able to reuse everything in your life without the help of outside sources you stop addiction; you no longer need to buy “things”; you educate yourself to build/create/repair; and you phase out nearly all need for money.

 

Below will be a growing list of examples as I take time to record them:

– I create and contribute to NO trash. This removes the need for money to pay a trash service. I grow my own food. My food scraps go back into the garden compost. IF I acquire something with a non biodegradable wrapper I use it as packaging material for our donated shipping items.

 

– I harness and use renewable clean energy. IF I am on a grid power source I minimize every use and am aware of my actions and the pollution I am contributing to.

 

– I do all my own labor for building, repairing etc. that are absolutely necessary.

 

– I reuse or trade and barter for any products