World Environment Day: Stay true to recycling

Perspectives

Among the United Nations’ theme days, World Environment Day on June 5th is special for encouraging individuals and groups to do something –locally– to take care of the Earth.

We know much needs to be done. In a time of climate change, islands of floating trash in the seas, and pervasive waste around the world, these and other challenges are daunting and difficult to resolve through individual acts.

Yet World Environment Day is a good time to remember how far we have come and how we have contributed to shaping the more environmentally conscious communities we live in today. This acknowledgement is less ‘self-congratulatory’ than motivational because there is so much further to go. By working collaboratively industry, governments, non-government organizations, communities and individuals have made a quantum shift in our relationship to resources we once considered ‘garbage.’

And this must continue.

A nudge from China

The recent change in China’s policy for accepting recyclable materials from outside its borders has shaken up markets for recovered materials. But markets for food and beverage cartons are evolving and growing. It’s a great time for material recycling facilities (MRFs) to explore positive sorting strategies for cartons as Grade #52.

As interest and investment in evolving a circular economy grows, we look forward to continuing to expand food and beverage carton recycling. We need to continue efforts to educate and spread recycling knowledge that will improve the feedstock arriving at MRFs –ultimately reducing costs and contaminants to capture the value of these resources. For example, greater awareness that food and beverage cartons are recyclable and that Americans should continue to recycle all they can remains important.  

As we acknowledge World Environment Day this month, lets resolve to do more to arm individuals with the knowledge they need to recycle their food and beverage cartons and to continue to support recycling in general.