Archives for posts with tag: Recycle

Not currently recyclable 5

Not currently recyclable 1

I’ve been in slightly bad form lately, the last few weeks in fact, and I couldn’t put my finger on the source of the malaise, until the other day. It’s because of recycling.

Or lack of it. In a post a while back, in fact about a year ago, I talked about how I recycle as much as possible but have no real knowledge of what happens once my bin is tipped into the truck.

I was chatting to a friend the other day, glorying in how much we recycle. We recycle all our plastics, I said, even shopping bags. You shouldn’t do that, he said, because you can only recycle hard plastic and it contaminates and adds to the cost of the recycling process.

He was right. Sure enough I was reading an article about the very same thing, confirming what he said. I had been doing it wrong. So I started doing it right, checking all of the packaging on stuff before I threw it away.

This led to my current feeling of frustration and exasperation. WE RECYCLE SO LITTLE OF OUR PACKAGING, EVEN NOW, IN 2018. How have we allowed governments and companies to get away with this for so long, to produce packaging that is ‘Not Currently Recyclable’? To me it seems beyond laughable, if it wasn’t so sad, that we can’t recycle:

  • Shopping bags
  • Shrink-wrap that binds our food and our drink containers together
  • All forms of packaging for perishable goods

This is the grim recycling realisation. We have so far to go.

I was doing some work outdoors the other day, an activity for me about as common as seeing an eskimo in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A spot of waste recycling and composting was my choice of chore.

Reduce, reuse, recycle is the adage they use to remind us of our environmental obligations. For me the rank order should be to reuse if you can, otherwise recycle, and if you can’t recycle, and it’s landfill city, then reduce as much as possible. Recycling is great, but there’s a fair amount of energy involved in washing or reconstituting the plastics, cardboard and paper.

Composting is a different story. It’s nothing short of amazing. I’d forgotten how amazing. Take your used tea bags, egg shells and uncooked food, stick them in a bin, and the passage of time plus some friendly worms transform it into nitrogen-rich compost to spread on your vegetable patches so you can reiterate the circle of life. Total out-of-pocket expenses on this process – excluding the sunk cost of your bin and any worms you add to the mix – zero. Beautiful, perfect even.

Marketing via the leveraging mechanism of the Internet is a bit like this. In the connected economy the cost of reproducing something that’s already been created tends towards zero. Once you have your compelling content, it’s relatively easy to recycle it automatically through your other social media channels, rework it, reuse it and keep benefitting from it. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

You don’t have to wait for time to transform it into something else but do you need to allow time for your social media efforts to pay you back. But that bit you knew already.