Friday, January 9, 2009

In the News ... Recycling

Earlier in the week, I watched a late night news program that grabbed my attention by saying ... think you're the best recycler in your block? Well your efforts might just be going to a landfill. OK ... that got my attention. The commentator then went on to suggest that maybe we should say ... why bother.

When they finally showed the entire piece (of course ... at the end of the program), it was a little different from their opening, "catch your attention" line. It turns out that the global economic crises is trickling down to all areas of our lives, including recycling. Evidently, there isn't much of a market for recycled materials right now. A recycling company in Oregon was featured ... the camera showed their warehouse with neatly stacked blocks of recycled aluminum and mountains of plastic. The owner said that they are having a hard time finding anyone to buy their product and if they run out of room, they'll have to send stuff to the landfill.

Here's the thing ... the economic downturn affects everything. It's not just recycling companies that are having a hard time finding a market for their products ... it's all companies. The smart recyclers will store as much as they can so that when things turn around (and they will), they'll be in the money.

So does this all mean that we give up our recycling efforts? NO WAY! We continue to recycle ... because it's the right thing to do. Perhaps that one company in Oregon won't have room for stuff ... but we have a lot of very creative people in this world ... people who wait for these kinds of opportunities. Yes ... this is an opportunity. It's an opportunity to collect recyclable materials and when the economy gets better, to sell those materials and cash in.

Here's something else we can do ... buy products which use recycled materials. In a previous post we talked about the power of purchases. In that article (which you can read HERE) the emphasis was on how we can influence the market by what we don't buy. In this case, we can influence the market by what we DO buy. Read the label and look for products and packaging with the greatest percentage of post-consumer recycled content. This ensures that the materials have been used before. Here are some examples; toilet paper, typing paper ... packaging such as aluminum and cardboard. Buy recycled items and the demand for recyclable materials will go up.

The "nightly news" may give us the events of the day ... but they do so in a manner which shocks us ... scares us ... and catches our attention. To me, telling us that our recycling efforts may be for naught is irresponsible. But we're smarter than that ... we know what's right! So keep recycling ... it's simply the right thing to do!

As always ... I would love to hear from you!


  1. I vote with my pocket book all the time! I do a lot of bulk buying....we have a big family. I look for items made from recycled material, and most of all I won't buy an item if it is over priced.
    I save all my can's and glass jars and I take them to the recycling center myself and get the cash for them.
    I know, I am so cheap!

  2. I wish there were more opportunities for writers to publish their books on recycled paper! I'd love that! It just seems it's not really done right now. Only by a couple of "high profile" authors.

    But, I plan on keepin' on keepin' on with my recyling!

  3. I think the reduce, reuse, recycle mantra needs some rebranding as for mainstream media and its audience recycling is the most important part of the equation; however, reducing consumption is the most important followed by reusing while recycling should be the last resort. Of course on a blog like this, I am just preaching to the choir.

    I am a new reader referred from BlogAsheville, and I have enjoyed your posts.

  4. This is why I don't watch the news. Because they're always freaking people out.

    The other night, I saw a 'commercial' for the 10 o'clock weather report, and he said that 'real' winter was coming. I was thinking to myself ... what was the last month of -30 degrees? Summer? Freakish news people!!!

  5. I think the media perverts the recycling effort way too much. One day you have a "planet in peril" type show and the next something like this.

    Personally, I don't plan on stopping any of my efforts. If anything, I plan on kicking them up a notch if for no other reason than the self-satisfaction I get from knowing that I was able to contribute in some small way to reducing the amount of garbage in our landfills.

  6. The economic downturn is hitting every sector of the market, recycling is not exempt. The point is, it's going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

    Kelli, I'm about as cheap as you...

    KM, SF is already aware that last year we changed our course's (English as a second language) student books to recycled paper.


  7. Marcal is one my favorite Green companies because all their paper products are made from paper not from trees. 100% recycled. It's also affordable. I buy my toilet paper, paper towels and napkins from them.

  8. NO WAY! We will go marching on towards a greener Earth :)

    Things will change. Things will get better. Let's not give up hope.

    Keep up the faith, people! And the great work in recycling efforts!

  9. Small
    I just got my first recommendation form your blog........thank humbles me to see someone as popular as you share in your outreach....I guess that's why you are so popular
    You have a heart to share with others.
    I finally got you set up as one of my recommended sties
    thanks for sharing your success with others

  10. Hi, recycled messages still need to go out consistently. We are so use to throwing without thinking.Recycled materials and products are not cheap and even it carries a message, how many bother? Not an effort of one but the entire global citizens...that is to all the companies too - it is corporate social responsibilities.


  11. Hey you :) I'm okay.. we are late on our taxes at the shop.. we do appliances to fund our food bank there.. so we've been super busy with that. Or trying to be, anyway. The college my daughter had her hopes on lost it's accredidation.. so THAT'S a last minute frapping scramble.. I got engaged over Christmas! Which has nothing to do with anything..just had to tell ONE MORE PERSON. I honestly haven't felt inspired lately.. I only blog when 'that feeling' or that special person that inspires that blogging feeling comes over me..I'm not a sitdown and write about whatever person, you know? So that's why. Nothing inspirational has happened of late. I've been thinking of you! I see you've still been busy saving the world :) Miss you!

  12. CONGRATULATIONS Foodbankbarbie!! Wow ... engaged! I'm so happy for you! OK ... Imagine streamers flying ... confetti everywhere ... and applause from everyone who follows this blog!

    Best wishes ALWAYS!

    Small Footprints

  13. Hi, Small Footprints. As you mentioned, precisely the economic downturn affects everything.The situation seems so challenging for companies.Same here in Japan. But we respectively can keep on doing something, though each of effort would look rather trivial. As for me, I quited to get any plastic bags whenever I buy something at supermarkets or so. There shopkeepers AUTOMATICALLY put the items you bought into a plastic bag if you say nothing at the casher.....

  14. I saw that show! I was shocked to think the economy would affect us that way! And I loved your comment on how the news exploits us the viewer--yes--I will keep doing what I do!

  15. Oh I do detest the news! I hadn't thought that the economy would affect recyclers, but it makes sense. Thank you again for this blog. You've really got me thinking more about the environment. I was using my blender today and I thought of your blog and then I started making a mental list of all the appliances I could unplug when not in use!

  16. We've had huge controversy over here (Toronto) about our recycling program--about how much actually gets recylcled, how much just dumped into the garbage and burned. I always wonder when I separate all my organic items, bags, papers, etc., whether they'll be going where they should!

    Thanks for your comment on my blog as well--so glad it led me here! And isn't shellyfish just the best? :)

  17. I think it's also important to remember that recycling should be the last option - if we can reduce and reuse as much as possible, maybe less recyclables will end up in landfill.

    You blog has inspired me to try even harder to reduce and reuse. It's almost kinda fun!

  18. Great post! I didn't know that the economic downturn would effect these companies. Guess everything is link to a chain.One affects another...