When trying to be green, did you know there are some mistakes that we make that actually cause more harm than good?
Here are a few that I’ve discovered followed by some solutions:
Throwing food into landfill thinking it’s ok because it will bio degrade. This is wrong because food is trapped in landfill. Deprived of air, it produces methane which is 20 x as potent as carbon dioxide at trapping heat.
Compost all fruit and veg peelings and scraps. Give cooked food to chickens. They love cooked spaghetti apparently!
Recycling plastic bags. Apparently the bags get stuck in the machinery at the recycling plant causing a break down in the system. It's therefore better not to put them in the recycling.
Refuse plastic bags but reuse the ones you have.
Using paper bags instead of plastic. Of course paper is better than plastic as it is natural. However it is still using up a natural resource and to recycle them it takes a lot of energy to recycle.
Make or purchase reusable cloth bags.
Buying biodegradable plastic and throwing it in the bin. A lot of shops are selling drinks and food in biodegradable plastic. This is great but most of it will only biodegrade in special machines built for this purpose.
If you purchase these kind of plastics, take them back to the shop where you purchased them. They can usually dispose of them properly. I know that this is a service that is offered by Uluwatu in Nyon and Rolle.
Recycling the unrecyclable such as food-stained pizza boxes – when this is detected in the recycling machine it’ll be pushed aside and sent to landfill along with the recyclable waste around it.
If the item is not able to be cleaned, put it in the non-recycling bin.
Leaving liquid or food in containers and bottles. This renders the item unrecyclable. On top of that the machines will send also all the perfectly recyclable items around it to landfill too as they cannot pick out individual items.
Empty and wash everything before recycling!
Recycling black plastic. It is not possible to recycle black plastic. Again, this contaminates other recyclable items in the system sending everything to landfill again.
Refuse any black or coloured plastic but if you have it, reuse it or put it in the non-recycling bin.
Keeping the lid on bottles and putting them in them into the recycling together. They belong in different recycling boxes as they could contaminate other plastic during the recycling process.
Take the lids off bottles and recycle them separately.
Putting all glass together in one recycling container. Like plastic, there are lots of different glasses that are recycled differently – bulbs, mirrors, ceramics etc.
Identify the type of glass and recycle correctly to stop contaminating other items.
We all make these mistakes but the more we educate ourselves about how to recycle properly the better the more effective recycling will become.
All this does make me think that the easiest ‘R’ to follow in the three ‘R’’s is to Refuse!