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!