A month ago, an opinion article questioning the merits of recycling was published in the New York Times. The response from the recycling community has been swift and decisive. In addition to a general sense of outrage that has inspired many passionate conversations, a lot of organizations have written articulate and effective rebuttals that lay waste to the inaccuracies and flawed logic on which the author bases his claims.
While it’s unfortunate that we have to defend the industry from such spurious attacks, it’s been great to see the strength of the community’s response. And perhaps the discussion that has been generated will help more people learn the truth about recycling and gain a new appreciation for the importance of diverting waste from the landfill.
We have assembled a collection of some our favorite rebuttals.
If you’ve been to a sustainability conference in the last year, you’ll agree that food waste is often the “topic du jour”. My fascination with organics management really took off after I had the opportunity to hear Jen Rustemeyer & Grant Baldwin present at the Washington State Recycling Conference in 2014. They produced and directed “Just Eat It” a documentary that asks the questions:
“Why are we throwing over 40% of our food in the garbage?” “How much of it is edible?”
These aren’t easy questions to answer but I was sure that I wanted to be a part of the solution so this week I attended the City of Winnipeg’s Organics Diversion Strategy Symposium. Here’s the symposium synopsis:
Plastic bags and other polyethylene film wraps (i.e. dry cleaning and bread bags, case wrap on paper goods and drink bottles, and other plastic films) can be a huge headache for MRFs, but let’s face it, they aren’t going away. The good news is that Re-TRAC users have tools available at their fingertips to make a big difference. The Wrap Recycling Action Program (WRAP) helps reduce or eliminate unwanted plastic film from the curbside stream by directing it to where it is wanted – the retail collection infrastructure. WRAP provides educational and outreach tools for state agencies, local jurisdictions, and community organizations looking for a way to manage plastic bags and film in their communities.
A number of Re-TRAC Connect programs were featured in the news last month. Here’s the recap:
Ontario Waste Management Association looks to close the data gap
How do I stack up against the rest of the sector? How do I determine our baseline in order to measure success or failure?
These are some of the questions that Rob Cook, CEO of the Ontario Waste Management Association (OWMA), set out to answer with the help of Re-TRAC Connect. He determined that the first step towards assisting his member organizations in answering these questions is to start with province-wide data collection from landfills. OWMA aims to expand the program to other facilities by the end of this year. Rob Cook was recently profiled in the Solid Waste & Recycling news.