What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Recycling Myth


We have all heard the mantra reduce, reuse, recycle.  Somewhere along the way the concept has been lost though.  The emphasis has been put on recycling while ignoring the other two fundamental ideals for moving towards a greener lifestyle.  Many municipalities have some type of recycling program and some even make recycling mandatory refusing to pick up any trash that contains recyclable materials.  There is no consistency to recycling programs though.  In some municipalities like Guelph, Ontario there is very little that can't be recycled.  Waste is divided into wet, dry and garbage.  Even dirty disposable diapers go into the recycle bin.  In other communities thing like tin foil and plastic food containers are not allowed in the recycle bin.  The real problem with recycling is it has become a touchy, feely I'm doing something good for the environment yet an out of sight out of mind activity.  Like our neighbours we put out our blue bin on collection day.  A nice truck comes by to empty our bin.  Unlike our neighbours our recycle bin doesn't get put out on a regular basis because there isn't the need.  The reason why there isn't the need is because we focus on reducing and reusing instead.  Why?

  • costs more in terms of energy and carbon foot print than it saves.  Those huge trucks that empty the recycle bin add to air pollution through their exhaust and they use fossil fuels to operate.  Quite often recycled waste is sent to a facility where it is burned to create electricity which adds to air pollution via transporting and emmisions.
  • costs in terms of taxation.  Part of your property taxes goes towards the municipal recycling program so you are paying to recycle.  Some communities even charge a monthly fee or price per bag to pick-up trash or recycleable materials.  Even if you are renting your money is going towards the cost of recycling through your rent.
  • solves only part of the problem. Recycling in some ways actually encourages more consumption and less reusing because the premise is the container or paper can go into the recycle bin.  So rather than reusing the item it gets put to the curb.
Garden Gnome