RECYCLING AT HOME: JUST AS EASY AS TAKING OUT THE TRASH
SOCRRA to Deliver a 65-Gallon Recycling Cart to Every Household in Oak Park
SOCRRA, Oak Park’s waste management contractor, is on a mission to make recycling just as easy as taking out the trash. If you like the 95-gallon trash carts, you’ll love the 65-gallon recycling cart that SOCRRA will deliver to over 100,000 single-family homes in 12 of the communities they serve, including Oak Park. Cart delivery will be made by a third-party contractor beginning in July and is expected to end in September.
The carts are made possible by participating municipalities with the help of grant funds from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, or MDEQ, and the Recycling Partnership, a national recycling non-profit that wishes to improve recycling rates in the United States.
How is the New Cart Just as Easy to Use as the Trash Container?
It’s conveniently Mixed Recycling – For every item being discarded, a resident decides if it’s a trash item to be placed in a trash container or if it’s a recycle item to be placed in the recycle cart. SOCRRA is supplying each household with a helpful graphic to assist in decision-making. Sorting of recycled items is no longer required.
It’s accessible - recycling materials are collected at curbside on trash collection day – Residents can begin using their cart as soon as it is received. Since the recyclables are collected on the same day as trash, it’s just as easy to remember to take out the recycle cart as it is the trash. Old recyclable bins will still be accepted as a supplement to your new cart, but SOCRRA encourages all to use the new carts as their primary container.
It’s affordable – There is no upfront charge to residents to receive a cart. They will be delivered to every household.
It’s aesthetically pleasing – Every household receives the same green cart that holds three times the amount of recyclables as your current container, has wheels for ease in transport, and features a sturdy black lid. It is approximately 3.5 feet high by 2 feet wide.
It’s important to differentiate trash from recyclable materials – American’s are responsible for one-third of the world’s trash while only accounting for five percent of the world’s population. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 75 percent of the American waste stream is recyclable, yet Americans only recycle 30 percent. Specifically, of the 250 million tons of trash generated in 2011, 55 percent gets buried in landfills, 33 percent is recycled and 12.5 percent is incinerated. This process can lead to:
· Soil Contamination – When trash is placed into landfills, it can potentially contaminate the earth causing carcinogens and health problems. It can affect plant life, animal life and deplete water resources.
· Air Contamination/Climate Change – Materials that are incinerated contaminate the air. Chemicals then build up in the ozone layer. Destroyed ozone layer can contribute to climate change, or global warming.
· Water Pollution – Careless littering, garbage dumping, and raw or untreated sewage discharge destroys waterways, contaminates habitats, and affects human food supply and health.
Why Reduce, Reuse and Recycle?
For years, the mantra in the recycling industry is to reduce, reuse and recycle, but what does that mean?
· Reduce – It is important to conserve and preserve our nonrenewable resources, particularly water, fuel and energy. The most effective way to reduce waste is to not create it. The saying, “if you don’t need it, don’t get it” holds true. Buy what you need and reduce your reliance products that are not recyclable, replace it with products that are. This includes something so simple as using canvas bags, versus plastic when shopping.
· Reuse – The goal of reusing items is to buy something that is used or recycled or that can be reused and recycled. Maintain and repair items. Borrow, rent and share products. Donate and upcycle.
· Recycle – Curbside collection, drop-off centers, and deposit/refund programs are types of recycling. Recycling is the process of converting used materials or waste into reusable products. It generally involves five steps: Consumers collect the recyclable materials and submit through curbside collection. The recycling center then sorts the materials of like type, color and components. Reclaimers clean and convert the items into reusable resources. They sell reprocessed materials to manufacturers to make new products from the recycled materials. Consumer complete the cycle by buying the products in recycled containers.
Top Ten Reasons to Recycle
The top ten reasons to recycle, include:
- Saves energy
- Reduces landfills
- Preserves resources
- Protects wildlife
- Spurs economy
- Improves climate conditions
- Protects health
- Reduces the need for incinerators
- Sustains the economy
- Protects the environment
How Much Does It Cost to Recycle?
The question is not so much, “How much does it cost to recycle?” as it is, “How much does it cost not to?” To add perspective, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that, on average, every American produces 1,600 pounds of trash per year. To a community that has 29,300 residents, the tonnage can be quite significant. The EPA estimates that 70 percent of
discarded waste can be recycled. Yet, according to SOCRRA’s March statistics, 92 percent of tonnage collected was waste, while only 8 percent was recyclables and metal. This means, by everyone using their new carts and following the simple instructions that comes with the carts, Oak Park has significant room for improvement.
The cost of choosing not to recycle is high – to human health, to the environment in which our children are raised within, and to the resources our grandchildren will have available to live. Put into perspective, making a weekly choice of what to place in a trash container and what to place in a recycling bin is a relatively easy decision that yields priceless results. What do you say, Oak Park shall we begin recycling at home? Recycling – It’s as easy as taking out the trash!
Recycling Will Now Be as Easy as Taking Out the Trash
Recycling is about to get a lot easier for residents in SOCRRA communities. This summer, SOCRRA will deliver a 65-gallon recycling cart to every single-family household in its member communities. And, because SOCRRA is converting to a Mixed Recycling facility, all curbside recyclables can be mixed together in the new cart! No need to keep paper separate from the other recyclables – just throw it all in and wheel it to the curb. Recycling will now be as easy as taking out the trash!
For More Information
For more information on the City's efforts to recycle or on waste collection, call the Oak Park Public Works Department at (248) 691-7497. For more information on SOCRRA's recycling carts, visit SOCRRA Recycling Carts. For answers to Frequently Asked Questions About the new SOCRRA Recycling Program visit Recycling Cart FAQs. For information on what to recycle, visit SOCRRA Information Packet.