Recycling can save the planet. We can do it together.
The Recycling Partnership
True
The Recycling Partnership

If you live in a major metropolitan area, you've probably complained about the fact that "garbage night" means that you're going to have to spend at least five minutes of walking downstairs, pulling your trash, compost, and recycling bins on the curb, and then debating whether you'll bring them back in first thing in the morning or on the way home from work.


Right now, you're probably thinking about what a bother it might be to have to put your shoes on and leave the comfortable warmth of your living room to ensure that all your trash and recycling is gone in the morning. So here's something to consider as you pull your slippers on: According to a new study by The Recycling Partnership, easy access to curbside recycling is a privilege a large number of Americans don't have.

The report, published in early 2020, explains that only half of Americans have the same access to curbside recycling as they do trash. Furthermore, many people who do have access to curbside recycling services don't use them at all, and those that do are not participating as fully as they could be. On average, that means only 32 percent of what's recyclable in the U.S. home actually makes its way to the recycling plant. More than 20 million tons of curbside recycling are lost to landfills each year.

How is this a problem? Not to get you down just as you're being reminded to take the recycling out, but landfill space problem is a real issue in the United States. As more and more garbage gets sent to the local dump, the space to leave it becomes rarer and rarer. Some landfills are already approaching capacity. And, according to the National Institutes of Health, not recycling puts a huge strain on non-renewable resources. When we don't recycle paper, for instance, more wood needs to be harvested to create fresh new sheets. And when it comes to aluminum, it takes 95 percent more energy to create it from raw materials than it does to reuse recycled metals. And making metal from scrap rather than new ore uses 40 percent less water and creates more than 90 percent less mining waste.

The Recycling Partnership

With all that in mind, it's clear that recycling isn't just necessary but something we all need to engage in to continue saving the environment. But in order for recycling to thrive and expand (especially to those who don't have access to curbside recycling), The Recycling Partnership makes clear that everyone from individuals to huge corporations need to step up and do their part to make renewing and reusing a regular and sustainable part of our lives.

"Every day we hear from citizens, communities, policy makers, corporate leaders, and other organizations who all want the same thing – a stronger recycling system," says The Recycling Partnership's CEO, Keefe Harrison. "It will take bold public-private partnership and leadership to make lasting improvements. Now is the time for action."

So how can we all step up to increase our recycling power? (Hey, it's kind of like being a superhero!) On an organizational level, it's imperative that we push for greater support of community recycling programs in our communities. And this doesn't mean that we just put out our bins every week. It means we need to lean on our governments for stronger policies and funding. That we demand corporations provide capital funding and technical assistance, and that recycling becomes not just an environmental but political issue when we're choosing which elected officials to give our support.

It's also time that we got more into recycling, too. That means making more of an effort to learn what is and isn't accepted for recycling in your community (pro-tip: check your community's recycling webpage) and understanding how the recycling system works so you know how we all play a role in making recycling successful. Maybe it means speaking to your family, friends, and roommates, or your colleagues at work. Maybe it's leading a recycling initiative at work. One thing's for certain — recycling can't succeed without all of us working together.

The Recycling Partnership

And here's what success looks like. If stakeholders from all levels of the chain participate more fully in recycling, The Recycling Partnership's study found that expanded recycling programs could result in conserving approximately 154 million barrels of oil and reducing gas emissions by 96 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. What does that look like in terms of impact to the environment? It's like taking more than 20 million cars off U.S. highways. And just as important: expanded recycling programs could create more than 370,000 full-time jobs, meaning more recycling would make a positive impact on both the environment and the economy.

"The state of the planet's health demands dedicated and swift action to protect natural resources and abate climate change," says Harrison.

That change can't happen without you.

True
Frito-Lay

Did you know one in five families are unable to provide everyday essentials and food for their children? This summer was also the hungriest on record with one in four children not knowing where their next meal will come from – an increase from one in seven children prior to the pandemic. The effects of COVID-19 continue to be felt around the country and many people struggle to secure basic needs. Unemployment is at an all-time high and an alarming number of families face food insecurity, not only from the increased financial burdens but also because many students and families rely on schools for school meal programs and other daily essentials.

This school year is unlike any other. Frito-Lay knew the critical need to ensure children have enough food and resources to succeed. The company quickly pivoted to expand its partnership with Feed the Children, a leading nonprofit focused on alleviating childhood hunger, to create the "Building the Future Together" program to provide shelf-stable food to supplement more than a quarter-million meals and distribute 500,000 pantry staples, school supplies, snacks, books, hand sanitizer, and personal care items to schools in underserved communities.

Keep Reading Show less
via Tom Ward / Instagram

Artist Tom Ward has used his incredible illustration techniques to give us some new perspective on modern life through popular Disney characters. "Disney characters are so iconic that I thought transporting them to our modern world could help us see it through new eyes," he told The Metro.

Tom says he wanted to bring to life "the times we live in and communicate topical issues in a relatable way."

In Ward's "Alt Disney" series, Prince Charming and Pinocchio have fallen victim to smart phone addiction. Ariel is living in a polluted ocean, and Simba and Baloo have been abused by humans.

Keep Reading Show less
True
Back Market

Between the new normal that is working from home and e-learning for students of all ages, having functional electronic devices is extremely important. But that doesn't mean needing to run out and buy the latest and greatest model. In fact, this cycle of constantly upgrading our devices to keep up with the newest technology is an incredibly dangerous habit.

The amount of e-waste we produce each year is growing at an increasing rate, and the improper treatment and disposal of this waste is harmful to both human health and the planet.

So what's the solution? While no one expects you to stop purchasing new phones, laptops, and other devices, what you can do is consider where you're purchasing them from and how often in order to help improve the planet for future generations.

Keep Reading Show less

With many schools going virtual, many daycare facilities being closed or limited, and millions of parents working from home during the pandemic, the balance working moms have always struggled to achieve has become even more challenging in 2020. Though there are more women in the workforce than ever, women still take on the lion's share of household and childcare duties. Moms also tend to bear the mental load of keeping track of all the little details that keep family life running smoothly, from noticing when kids are outgrowing their clothing to keeping track of doctor and dentist appointments to organizing kids' extracurricular activities.

It's a lot. And it's a lot more now that we're also dealing with the daily existential dread of a global pandemic, social unrest, political upheaval, and increasingly intense natural disasters.

That's why scientist Gretchen Goldman's refreshingly honest photo showing where and how she conducted a CNN interview is resonating with so many.

Keep Reading Show less

Schools often have to walk a fine line when it comes to parental complaints. Diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and preferences for what kids see and hear will always mean that schools can't please everyone all the time, so educators have to discern what's best for the whole, broad spectrum of kids in their care.

Sometimes, what's best is hard to discern. Sometimes it's absolutely not.

Such was the case this week when a parent at a St. Louis elementary school complained in a Facebook group about a book that was read to her 7-year-old. The parent wrote:

"Anyone else check out the read a loud book on Canvas for 2nd grade today? Ron's Big Mission was the book that was read out loud to my 7 year old. I caught this after she watched it bc I was working with my 3rd grader. I have called my daughters school. Parents, we have to preview what we are letting the kids see on there."

Keep Reading Show less