Cindy's blog March 14 2017. It started with a paper cup...


True confessions…this week I bought a coffee in a disposable cup. I had a mixed-up morning, nothing had gone as planned,  and I thought I would go through the drive-thru. Then I realized I didn’t have my reusable cup, then told myself I deserved a coffee and once in a paper cup wouldn’t hurt. Well, it kind of did! Nothing about it felt right and even my co-workers were threatening to post pictures of it-reputations can be ruined in a second…lol.  And PS, coffee does not taste as good in a paper cup as in a metal one…just saying.

There is a purpose to this admission as it got me thinking about recycling. There are so many facets of recycling but I thought since it is March Break that I would do a small “Recycling 101” that maybe kids and adults might benefit from. So here are some recycling fun facts….

  • Recycling is the process of turning used waste and materials into new products. This prevents potentially useful materials from being wasted as well as reducing energy use and pollution.

  • Recycling is part of the waste disposal hierarchy – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

  • A wide variety of different materials can be recycled, including paper, plastic, glass, metal, textiles and electronic equipment.

  • The idea of recycling isn’t something new, historical evidence shows that humans have been recycling various materials for thousands of years.

  • There are different methods of waste collection. These include drop off centers (where waste materials are dropped off at a specified location), buy back centers (where certain materials are exchanged for money), and curbside collection (where recycling vehicles are used to pick up waste material intended for recycling along residential streets).

  • Powerful magnets are used to sort through different types of metals.

  • Recycled paper can be made from three different types of paper; mill broke (paper scrap and trimmings), pre-consumer waste (paper that was discarded before consumer use), and post-consumer waste (paper discarded after consumer use, such as old newspapers).

  • Recycling one tonne (2204 lb) of paper saves 17 trees, 6,000 gallons of water and produces 73% less air pollution than if it was made from raw materials.

  • Recycling plastic can be more difficult than other materials and plastics are not typically recycled into the same type of plastic.

  • Different types of plastics are labeled by numbers (plastic identification code), for example polyethylene (PET) is number 1 and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is number 3.

  • Recycling old aluminum uses only 5% of the energy used to make new aluminum.

  • Aluminum can be recycled from cans, bicycles, computers, cookware, wires, cars, planes and other sources. A glass bottle or aluminum can takes from 100 to 500 years to decompose in a landfill.

  • Glass recycling is often separated into colors because glass keeps its color after recycling.

  • For every ton of recycled glass turned into new products, 315 kilograms of extra carbon dioxide that would have been released during the creation of new glass are saved.

  • Why is recycling good? It is good as it saves energy consumption and saves the environment.

  • So these are just some facts that might begin a discussion with children or even adults about why it is good to recycle.  From now on I will be ensuring a metal cup is always kept in my car to avoid the trauma and abuse of me using a disposable one!