Blue Bins for a Greener Planet
With trillions of planets scattered throughout our galaxy, it’s sometimes easy to forget that Earth has something the experts at NASA have yet to find anywhere else: life. Although there are theories and hypotheses that suggest we’re not alone in this great big galaxy, we’ve yet to come across another planet quite like ours. Which is why we should all be doing our part to help save and preserve this one-of-a-kind home.
Now, before we get into some of the things you can do to help this big blue planet, it’s important to note that you don’t have to go to extremes to do your part. There are a world of options out there to help you be more environmentally friendly and sustainably responsible; and helping save the planet can be as simple as looking into some eco-friendly hobbies to share with your friends and family!
Of course, it can also look like trading in your vehicle for a bicycle, which would save an average of 4,600 kg of CO2 from entering the atmosphere per year (that’s roughly 5 tonnes!); but, we understand and appreciate that making the change from motor to pedal isn’t feasible or realistic for everyone.
That said, if you’re looking to upgrade your ride in the next couple of years, maybe consider making your next vehicle an electric one. While not quite as environmentally friendly as a bicycle, studies have shown that electric vehicles can reduce your yearly CO2 emissions by 2 to 3 tonnes. And, with the EV charging stations located here in West 5, you’d always be fully charged and ready to take on the day!
Saving the planet doesn’t always have to look like bicycles and electric vehicles though! There are plenty of other, simpler ways to do your part that don’t involve a complete lifestyle overhaul. Like choosing to use reusable grocery bags or metal water bottles instead of their plastic counterparts; because while plastics can be incredibly convenient when it comes to versatility and longevity, that plastic water bottle you chugged and tossed today will still be here in the year 2472. That’s 450 years from now!
It’s no secret that the time it takes for plastics to decompose depends on the structure, material, and environment, and the general consensus is that plastics can take anywhere from 20 to 500 years to decompose; so while a plastic water bottle may be handy on a hot summer day, it’s not exactly the most environmentally friendly of options. However, with a little know-how and a big blue recycling bin, you can help prevent that water bottle from ending up in a landfill.
Here are some of the tips and tricks the West 5 team has learned while helping cultivate one of the most extensive recycling initiatives in the community:
1. Start small! Bad habits aren’t broken over night and that’s okay. Getting started is half the battle, and understanding what can and can’t be recycled is key!
- Aluminum cans
- Corrugated cardboard
- Rigid plastic containers (from fruits, mixed greens, etc)
- Glass bottles and jars (with lid on)
- Disposable masks and gloves
- Foam cups and containers
- Soiled food items
- Broken glass
2. Keep separate bins. Knowing what to recycle and what to toss is a great first step, but now you need to keep them separate! Get a couple of recycling bins to organize your recyclables and prevent them from accidentally winding up in the garbage bin. This may also be a good time to introduce a composting bin to your routine and prevent any biodegrable materials from going to waste!
3. Know your community’s recycling program. As previously mentioned, West 5 is a community that fully supports recycling initiatives and therefore offers its residents an easy and comprehensive recycling program; but this can’t be said for every community. Be sure to take a look at the available recycling programs in your region or explore companies like TerraCycle or Waste Management.
4. Get involved! Encourage your friends and family to start their own recycling journey or challenge them to a Zero-Waste Competition! Spark conversations around why it’s important to recycle and participate in Global Recycling Day where you can nominate your own unsung #RecyclingHeroes and everyday people.
Sometimes it may not feel like it, but every glass jar, aluminum can, and plastic water bottle you recycle makes a difference. By choosing to recycle these materials not only are you saving the planet by preventing needless waste from rotting in a landfill for hundreds of years, but you’re helping give a second life to those materials!
Did You Know
- Aluminum cans can be recycled almost indefinitely and most cans are typically melted, re-cast and refilled within 60 days
- Steel containers never lose their strength and can be endlessly recycled! These recyclables are often remade into chains, household appliances and automotive parts
- Plastic bottles made out of Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) are infinitely recyclable. They can be made back into new bottles, household furnishings and swimsuits, active wear or running shoes
- Old newspapers, catalogues and household papers find a second life as fresh paper stock, egg cartons or drywall
- Rigid plastic bottles like those used for laundry detergent and household cleaning products usually come back as decking, picnic tables and even the Blue Box itself!
Remember that in this great big galaxy, there’s only one Earth and it’s up to us to protect it. Don’t let a plastic water bottle become your legacy; do your part and become one of the #RecyclingHeroes this world needs.