Written by Suzie Vance
We hear it every day. “It’s no big deal. It’s only one.” We might think that it’s OK to put something in the recycling bin that doesn’t belong there because it’s ONLY ONE. Yes, it is “only one”—for YOU. The problem is that you’re not the only one who might think that way.
If EVERYONE thinks that it’s OK to put a contaminant in the recycling bin because it’s “only one” that would mean that if everyone in the U.S. did that just ONE time each year, we would have over 357 MILLION contaminants in the recycling stream every year–that would be 7 BILLION contaminants on a global scale. “Only one” is NOT “only one” if EVERYONE does it.
Here are some of the “only one” things that people often mistakenly place where they shouldn’t be placed:
– Cell phones
– Motor oil
– Plastic bags
– Garden hoses
These things should never be placed in your curbside recycling bin.
So, what can you do with these common recycling contaminants? Cell phones and motor oil can be recycled at electronics and household hazardous waste facilities (check your city’s website to find yours). They should NEVER be placed in your trash bin either because they are hazardous environmental contaminants which can pollute the soil and water supply.
Plastic bags can be recycled by taking them to your local market. Many locations have containers conveniently near the store entrance. Clothing can be donated to a local thrift store, Goodwill, or Salvation Army. And that pesky garden hose should be placed in the trash—it isn’t recyclable at all!
So, how can you be a better recycler and not one of the “It’s only one” majority? You might wonder…“Why should I even try since it seems like everyone else isn’t? What difference does it make if don’t put contaminants in the recycling bin?” Think about it this way: If EVERYONE makes sure that they keep “only one” contaminant out of the recycling stream each year in the U.S. that’s 357 MILLION fewer contaminants in the recycling stream every year—which is 7 BILLION fewer contaminants on a global scale.
So, yes, “It’s only one”. But every “one” can make a difference. Whether you choose to be a part of the problem or a part of the solution is up to you. We at Recycling Perks believe that even small efforts can lead to big results. The power of duplication can be very impactful. One person can make a difference because EVERY person can make a difference. Earth Month is the perfect time to show your friends and family that YOU are contributing to a cleaner environment and making a difference by doing the right thing.
It’s only one. You’re only one. And the Earth is our “only one”. There is no “planet B”, so we each must be the one who protects it. Thanks for doing the right thing for everyone!