Monday, May 19, 2008

Recycling your Bottles?

Poor naive me, I really thought that the majority of people were actually recycling, but a couple of incidents over the past few days have brought my naivety to my attention.

Incident #1: Office Conference Room – Trash can full of plastic cups and aluminum cans.
Incident #2: Office Cleaning Staff – dumping recycling into trash Incident #3: Friend Visiting my Home – “You’re really into green, I mean, you guys even recycle here.”

Then I read an article that confirmed my suspicions: “Bottles, Bottles, Everywhere…Can you give up bottled water?” This article addresses the myriad issues associated with drinking bottled water, including carbon footprint impacts, use of oil to generate bottles, and water use in bottle production. None of this was particularly surprising, as the war on plastic water bottles has resulted in a flood of information on all of the negative impacts (note: we should all be drinking tap water from reusable containers).

What did surprise me were the stats on recycling:

  • Less than 20 percent of the 28 billion single-serving water bottles that Americans buy each year are recycled
  • National recycling rate for all beverage containers is 33 percent
  • In states with deposit systems, this jumps to 65-95 percent
  • 11 states have deposit systems; only three of these include deposit requirements for non-carbonated beverages
  • Non-carbonated beverages now comprise 27 percent of the market
I questioned whether these stats were legit or not, and did some internet research. This is what I discovered:

Check out the article as well as the other resources, and be sure to recycle both at work and in your home!

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