Garbage. We all have it. Between recycling plants, overseas shipping, local landfills, and incineration facilities, there is a lot of it! Spending family time on waste management is a fact of life! Canadian families create more waste per capita than anyone else in the entire world! This is why eco-living in 2020 is the most important reason to act now. These three new years resolutions are important in 2020
This is a record I’m sure Canadians are not proud to hold! But the truth is we can’t rely on recycling alone to solve methane output and plastic pollution. Recycling makes people feel like they’re doing their part. They believe it’s what makes the world right. The key to solving waste management issues.
However, companies have created an overpackaging nightmare. This is why relying on recycling actually gives us a false sense of hope! The endless onslaught of garbage will never cease to end. Unless we can do something about it! Unless people begin to apply an eco-living element to their lifestyle.
Plastic: A modern-day convenience
Plastic makes up our everyday essentials. Its a way of life. It’s a big deal and it’s affecting many lives positively. The very reason why no one has been complaining until recently.
Our relationship with cars and Airplanes has made our lives easier, faster and convenient. However, by volume, cars are made up of 50% plastic. Like airplanes, car companies are making them with plastic components because they’re lightweight. It gives better gas mileage and improves design features.
Everything from safety gear to sports equipment… so much plastic! Shoes, skates, pads, balls, and sticks all contribute to plastic pollution. Plastic glasses help us see through the day. It’s in the medical devices that help us live our lives longer. We mold plastic and shape them into a myriad of prescriptions. It’s no wonder we’re addicted to using this synthetic material.
Addictions require an intervention
Food and Beverage Companies use plastic bottles to deliver their products to us. We’ve relied on them to give us the hydration we need. So do you blame them for using plastic to get it to us? In the 1950’s cigarette companies advertised their product as “good for your health”. The water companies say the same thing.
Do bottled water companies really understand the side effects of plastic? It’s a challenging dilemma. What we know now is the relationship between consumer and manufacturer has come at a cost. Today our reliance on plastic has caused massive amounts of waste. It’s dumped, incinerated and misplaced around the world.
The Environmental justice group named Coca Cola the number 1 plastic polluter in the world. Coca Cola has stated, a business won’t be business if we don’t accommodate the customers. This means they’re not willing to find an alternative bottle. If they won’t change than we the people have to change.
Reality of recycling
What we need to do is find a way that actually deals with the problem. Canada has shipped most waste overseas to countries called “end markets”. However, there is a lack of International Government transparency and often poor labor standards. We sell it to poorer countries who either incinerate it, place it in landfills or illegally dump it!
Processing garbage hasn’t resulted in more post-consumer products. According to the United Nations, recycling has only accounted for 9% of post-consumer products. That leaves 91% of the total waste accumulated unaccounted for!
Even if there is a state of the art sorting facility recycling isn’t going to help. The law directs recycling facilities to sort material responsibly. Therefore, all the waste in the blue bin has to be recycled in a recycling plant.
But, the law changes once the waste is turned into bails. It then becomes a commodity subject to current market value. Since there are so many regions selling recycled material the market has become saturated. It has become an unfeasible business.
For instance, the paper has decreased in value by 110% and plastic bags are down 53% since 2017. These commodities have fallen in value because there is just so much of it!
This volatility is causing mass confusion in the industry.
To make matters worse, on Jan 1, 2018, China decided to ban foreign recyclables. Since then southeast Asian countries are taking the garbage. But, their recycling industry is much smaller. They’ve recently started turning the recycling away.
They’ve shipped 11 containers of plastic back to Canada. Plus, they’ve vowed to ship millions of tonnes of waste back to where they came. So now only the highest quality material can be sold overseas.
The costs of labor plus the commodity crash is costing Canadian Taxpayers loads of money. So much, in fact, the Ontario government must either raise taxes or cut social programs. Basically, the overpackaging and poor packaging choices ultimately costs taxpayers social programs!
Don’t just recycle it: Be picky about what you buy at the store. Companies often choose flashy nonrecyclable materials for their packaging. They’ll choose materials that cannot be recycled together but look great for marketing their product. Most people will just throw their packaging in the Blue Bin wishing it could be recycled. But, instead, it could potentially contaminate tonnes of waste. Think twice before you throw it in the blue bin!
Avoid buying items packaged in these materials.
Styrofoam: Who do we get to thank for making Styrofoam? This man-made material is banned in cities around the world. This stuff lasts 500 years or longer and is responsible for much of the world’s ocean garbage.
Teflon: Once Teflon enters your bloodstream it remains there. Nothing breaks Teflon down. You can find Teflon pans, appliances, utensils, and clothes. Avoid supporting the companies that sell these items. If they’re not selling it than manufacturing will decrease and less of this chemical will be released into the environment.
Plastic: Plastic bottles are a very big issue. We cannot rely on beverage companies to change. UNLESS they see a drop in sales. What you can do to facilitate a change NOW is to stop buying it.
Look for your drinks in glass containers. Glass can be recycled continuously without losing its purity. Whereas plastic can only be recycled once or twice. We mold things, laminate things, make crafts and cook with plastic. It has saturated our lives! 100 years ago it wasn’t as common but now we rely on it. It’s readily available, the easy option and makes sense in so many ways. Eco-living lifestyles must be creative when reducing waste.
Reduce your waste:
It seems every purchase I make people ask if I’d like a bag? Many people don’t think twice, they take it and move on with their day. People absent-mindedly put their fruit and vegetables in plastic bags! I know I’m not the only one that thinks this is CRAZY!
There are plenty of ways to reduce your waste. First, keep it simple. If you want to stop buying drinks with plastic bottles. It’s not too hard! Iced tea is a popular drink that offers a go-to fix for flavor. Making iced tea at home is super easy. Buy the flavor of loose leaf tea you prefer, add sugar. Done.
Here is another solution for a more complex waste challenge. For example, those little Keurig coffee pucks people love to use! Surprise!! They’re wasteful. SO, for the latte loving coffee people, the next logical step would be to buy an espresso machine. Yet, is it really the best option? The volume of waste once it’s life is over is quite big.
The best option? The Bodum is good but it also contains plastic. What I’ve been using is a stainless steel sieve. The perfect sieve will sit on the lip of your coffee cup. It uses a hook that curls over the lip of the cup. You can easily pour hot water over the espresso grounds. It makes the perfect cup of coffee!
Clean Your recyclables
Since there is always some waste in our world of eco-living. Make sure you clean your recyclables. Clean any packaging of food scraps, oil, and coffee stains.
It also doesn’t work if there are two different types of material. For instance, paper coated in plastic or metal foil on paper. Contaminants such as these ruin tonnes of “clean recycling bales” meant for post-consumer products.
An army of overpackaged products has taken over stores and our lives! There are ways to reduce your waste and it’s not hard to do it once you know the way. Read more here about how you can make a difference.
Create goals that matter
Eco-living reduces waste and also reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
We can’t rely on recycling to be the answer to our pollution problems. We can’t keep throwing our trash into the landfills. Landfill waste and recycling all generate greenhouse gas emissions. Foreign countries are also dumping our garbage and incinerating it. We’ve created this fire breathing monster and it’s heating things up!
Let your New Years’ resolution make a difference in the world. Start now and see how eco-living can make a difference. It just takes one change a day to help make the world a better place!
There are lots of eco-living ideas. It’s as easy as baking a loaf of bread or a dozen cookies. You can reduce your reliance on single-use packaging. Find out what else you can do to create a happier, healthier lifestyle. These four successful shopping tips will take you to the next level. It offers great tips for you and your sustainable life and home.
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