Recycling Responsibly is Hard

To quote Glennon Doyle “we can do hard things”.

This is not something I’d like to admit but my recycling habits needed an update. My mindset was if it looks vaguely recyclable, I might as well toss in in the recycling bin and hope the material can be reused. Turns out I’m not the only person who does this and there is a term for it called “wish-cycling.” It’s the mental pitfall when we don’t know what is or isn’t recyclable, so we feel better about it going to a plant rather than a landfill. In reality, it’s much worse for the recycling plant when we wish-cycle because the truly recyclable materials become contaminated and ultimately puts more stress on the recycling plants to operate smoothly.

When I re-examined my wish-cycling I saw that I needed to up my game to refine my recycling habits. I learned that plastic bags need to recycled separately and can be dropped off at a number or bag recycling sites including Price Chopper, Hannaford, and Wal-Mart. And that paper and cardboard need to be clean and dry to be considered recyclable.

At Irene Leigh our new merchandise can come in various types of plastic and paper packaging so we decided to use update our recycling system and put better practices in place.  We began by making a mini recycling station sorting plastic bags, cardboard and paper including boxes and unused vendor tags. Luckily the packaging we receive is not very diverse in composition so that made it a simple jumping off point to practice our new recycling habits.

I was curious to know how much plastic and paper we could recycle. So, as we were ramping up to receive inventory for the busiest quarter of the year, we began measuring how much material we had by weighing the contents before dropping them off.  From November-January we recycled 25 pounds of plastic bags, and 19 pounds of paper and cardboard.

I’m still honing my skill and have a lot to learn on the recycling front. At Irene Leigh we will continue to do the little things that might seem tedious if it means changing our minds for the better and learning a new skill to take home.

Click the link below to find plastic bag drop off stations in your zip code! https://www.plasticfilmrecycling.org/recycling-bags-and-wraps/find-drop-off-location/

If you’re curious about what IS recyclable click the link below to see guidelines for recycling in Saratoga County. https://www.saratoga.com/green/saratoga-recycling-centers/

We hope your find this helpful!

Post By: Shelby Moszkowicz


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