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Is recycling enough?

Updated: Jan 21, 2022

Most humans are good people. When you ask a stranger to help you load a bag of groceries into the trunk or to take a group photo at Disneyland, they usually answer with "Sure" and a smile.

Similarly, when it comes to recycling, most people have good intentions. But something happens with the follow-through. They think about doing good but often don't take the next step.

When someone drinks water, tea, or soda from a single use plastic bottle--when it's not recycled--it will sit in a landfill and take up to 450 years to break down. That same bottle that took less than 10 minutes to drink from will still be here long after we die.

The other sad reality is that only about 10-30% of people in the U.S. are actually recycling. Some would say the lower end of the scale is most accurate. That means we can do a better job when it comes to going green. Let's start with two simple goals.

1) If you don't recycle yet, start there.

2) Choose reusable items when possible.

That means, in your home or office, keep a bin for recyclables; then start recycling and share the enthusiasm with others around you. Here's some guidance on which #s can be recycled (don't reuse #7--it's not safe).

It's pretty trendy to use canteens these days, so opt for reusables at home and in the office. See if your office manager can order them for the staff (maybe even with your business logo), along with providing fresh drinking water (a Brita for the fridge works great).

These might sound basic, but think about the 70-90% of people in the U.S. who don't actually recycle. That adds up to lots of single use bottles in landfills--that will still be here after your great-great-great-great grandkids get here.

Written by GIL founder: Dianne Bright

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