Climate change is upon us, and everywhere you go there is a recycling bin
reminding you that your actions will impact the world for years to come. Yet, there’s something that you haven’t been told about environmentally friendly products and actions. While recycling is a part of environmentally responsible consumer behavior, it’s not the greenest option out there and defaulting to it can sometimes cause more harm than good. Keep reading for all you need to know about the recycling crisis.
Reuse vs. recycle: which is really better?
When it comes to making environmentally conscious decisions, there’s a power
ranking in what ultimately does the most good for the environment. It goes:
- Prevention (best)
- Energy recovery
- Disposal (worst)
This means that reuse ranks above recycling. Reuse is when an object is used again without treatment to it. Recycling requires taking an item and turning it into raw materials again so that it can be made into a new product. What makes reusing more beneficial than recycling is the fact that no energy is consumed in the process of reusing at all. Recycling requires energy to be expended in order to make something new.
Is “recycled trash” an oxymoron?
When throwing that plastic water bottle into the recycling bin, you probably feel as though you’re absolving yourself from any blame. That bottle will become recycled plastic. It won’t end up in a landfill and contribute to the trash piling up around the globe. Your initial action of drinking from that water bottle ultimately won’t matter because it will be recycled. Yet, that’s not entirely true.
In 2019, China decided that it would no longer allow recycled trash – or imported recycled waste – to build up in its country. This has left countries like the U.S. and Australia searching for solutions for their recycled waste. So, in the year since this decision was made, there’s been a shift in what is done with materials tossed in recycling bins.
Now, previously recycled plastics are ending up in landfills and incinerators.
They’re littering the environment we’re attempting to protect. Because of this change, recycling programs across the world are halting their programs because they’re not quite sure what to do with these the goods that should be recycled.
Before, recycling was thought to be the go-to solution for the world’s waste, but it isn’t that way anymore. Reuse is the superior option because it prevents the potential for recycled goods to end up in landfills altogether. Recycling only works if those in the industry follow through on what they’re supposed to do.
Best reusable products
Like Forester Silicone Bags, reusable products might not be on your radar initially, but replacing items that
would otherwise be single-use plastic in your life with reusable products can help make you a part of the solution. It ultimately saves money, it’s better for the environment, and it’s safer to use. Here are some environmentally conscious, reusable products that you might want to put on your radar.
1. Reusable silicone bags to replace single-use plastic Zip Lock bags. Our Forester Bags are the ultimate option to replace the plastic zip bags, and add more uses as well. Check out our available product options and sizes for your daily "reuse".
2. Reusable grocery bags – You likely go to a grocery store once a week, twice a
week, and maybe even more than that! No one really needs the plastic grocery
bags they give out. You can easily invest in a plastic-free, reusable alternative.
Stick them in the back of your car, so you don’t forget them and save hundreds of
grocery bags by the end of the year.
3. Reusable water bottles – Everyone needs to drink water but buying a case of
plastic water bottles is one of the very best ways to pollute the Earth. Even if you
think that water bottle will be recycled, as soon as it’s out of your hands it’s out of
your control. A reusable bottle will solve that problem once and for all.
4. Reusable straws – Starbucks made a crusade in the last couple of years to
reduce the number of plastic straws they have in their establishments. Think
about how much plastic you keep out of landfills that can’t be recycled or even
degraded. Reusable straws, like silicone straws, help fulfill your needs while also
being environmentally friendly.
Protecting the environment isn’t a perfect process. While reusing is the
environmentally-conscious route that is ultimately preferred, recycling does have a place in the game. It’s not always possible to reuse, reuse, reuse. Recycling is
important, and the ban on importing recycled products is ultimately a sign that the
system itself is flawed. If we focus on fixing the recycling process that forces goods that consumers initially put into the recycling bin into landfills and incinerators, then we’re taking a step in the right direction.
Don’t write off recycling as the “wrong” thing to do. We have to start somewhere to protect the Earth but don’t automatically think that tossing anything in a recycling bin automatically forgives your actions. Reuse, reuse, reuse, and then recycle. The more we prevent waste the less we ultimately have filling our precious planet.