When Recycling Stops, Go Zero Waste!


Photo by RikaC on Pixabay

Even though new recycling policies were put in place about a year ago for my region of North Carolina, I have only recently learned about them. My county's recyclables are now limited to Number 1 and 2 recyclable plastics, newspaper, cardboard, and aluminum cans. The city I live in no longer accepts glass, mixed paper, or plastics 3 through 7.

When I found this out, I was shocked. I thought this was just my county not wanting to spend the money anymore. The real reason for the cutback was the fact that many countries stopped buying our recyclables due to the adverse environmental effects. The U.S. had been selling its plastics to other countries for years. This cutback made me interested in how I can help make up for the extra plastic going to waste in my household.

What are the Barriers Preventing a Zero-Waste Household?

I started to research composting and zero-waste options. The main problems with these options are inconvenience and price. A good composting bin can go for well over 50 dollars. Choosing to go zero waste means you are also very limited with what you can order online as most orders come with lots of extra packaging.

When going to the grocery store, items not in excessive packaging are few and far between, and usually cost a little extra. If you tried to find a bulk store with zero waste options in this town, you would no doubt have trouble. Even when you do acquire the tools to go zero-waste, you have to carry them everywhere you go or risk having to accept plastic that will go in the garbage. Going zero waste and composting also require additional research that many are not willing to do.

9/22/2020 10:25:54 PM

Unfortunately, with the viral shutdown, stores have been telling customers to use store plastic bags again [THAT industry regained their lost market share in a fast hurry!], and using plastic baggies for bulk food supplies. I've been seriously considering saving plastics, then using a solar cooker to melt them into bricks for garden or sheds. Cloth diapers are a good thing. FAR less toxic than disposables. Maybe younger generations need to kibitz with oldsters, to learn how things were done back in the Great Depression and Dustbowl years. There were MANY sustainable and thrifty things people had to do to get by, to survive. Many very good ideas that so many younger ones never were familiar with, could be very helpful to civilization, now.

9/18/2020 3:16:52 PM

There is such a thing as cloth baby diapers. If you suggest them, some people think you are making a personal attack against them. But I will note that my three kids who were mostly in cloth were potty trained between 1 and 2 years old, while my fourth who was in disporables more often took until about age 4. Baby poop really isn't all that scary. It's not like adult poop.

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