I often get asked if I’m recycling more since going zero waste. I’m actually recycling less, a LOT less. That’s because I avoid purchasing anything with packaging, especially plastic packaging.
Here’s my recycling for Week 23 of my #zerowastechallenge: Papers (after using both sides), a steel food can, a couple paper carton boxes and a drink box my son received at school from a well-meaning parent.
Since I buy as much as I can package-free or in reusable containers, there’s very little that needs to be recycled. My recycling bin, which used to be full to the brim each week (sometimes I would have to take it out mid-week just to make room), is now nearly empty. And that’s a good thing because recycling is not the answer to our environmental problems …
While glass and metal can be recycled infinitely and paper can be recycled several times, recycling is still an energy-intensive process that’s best avoided by following the first two R’s: Reduce and Reuse. And because plastic recycling is a fallacy, I avoid buying anything packaged in plastic. Even recyclable plastic can only be recycled once or twice at best, then that plastic material is mixed with other materials to make new products (like synthetic fabrics) that aren’t recyclable and ultimately end up in our landfills and oceans 😢