We make an effort to recycle and we feel good when we know our recycling is being put into the proper channels. We trust that our city and government are properly handling our efforts at doing our part. However, as of May, 2018, much of our once recyclable plastics are no longer being taken.
In case you have not yet heard, China has stopped taking much of the worlds recycling. https://www.wastedive.com/news/what-chinese-import-policies-mean-for-all-50-states/510751/
They are turning inward and focusing on beautifying their own country – instead of taking the worlds trash.
Good for China, but this abrupt cut off leaves the majority of the world with a standstill in what to do with their recycling. Transfer stations have backed up waiting for a solution, and now, recycling centers are separating out plastics that are NON CRV NUMBERS 1-7, and throwing what is a majority of plastics used, into landfills.
You may think “well, this is California, surely we have recycling down?”-you would be mistaken. California is actually even more affected than other states. http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-sac-skelton-recycling-problems-california-20180709-story.html#
For now, the only solution I can see is for us to be more mindful and spread the word. Our system needs to change and the only way to change a system is by our vote. Where we put our money is the most important vote in a Capitalist system. Stop buying products in plastics as much as possible. Shop for your produce at local farmers markets, bring cloth produce bags, reuse plastic bags you already have: onions, apples, carrot bags, etc.
Collect loose plastics when you see it outside of your home, and bring it to centers that take it such as Safeway and Walmart.
Solutions on a governmental level are mandatory, and as a people we need to push our leaders into making a change.
Some ideas to get this turned around:
Getting a vote on local ballots to use an allotment of our tax dollars to go towards building plastic processing plants in our own country.
Incentives for manufacturers to use less plastics in their packaging.
Biodegradable plastics as the majority of packaging being created and sold to the public.
The change begins with us and forcing the system to change. Telling our favorite brands what we want to see and buy.
I will be drafting a letter we can mail to companies such as: Amazon, fabletics, trader joe’s, etc. to ask for a change on their level and to take responsibility for their massive impact on our beloved environment.
Here is a picture of the notice I took at the local San Lorenzo Valley recycling center on, July 31st, 2018.
Some examples of plastics now being sent to the landfill:
Vegetable and fruit boxes, salad in plastic containers and bags, plastic mesh produce bags, orange juice bottles; and non CRV plastics, this is ending up in our landfills and oceans.