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Plastic Is Everywhere, And Recycling Isn't The End Of It

QUICK READ: "Few inventions in modern history have been as successful as plastic. It's in vehicles and building materials and most of our electronic devices. We wrap stuff in it and even wear it.

Now a research team has tallied up how much plastic has been produced and where much of it has gone. Turns out, it's literally almost everywhere."

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Californians are recycling bottles less and less. Here's what's going on...

QUICK READ: "In a state that prides itself as a global leader in protecting the environment, recycling rates for beverage containers have dropped to their lowest point in almost a decade amid the continued closure of centers that pay for bottles and cans and the fallout from changes to California's recycling program.

Beyond the environmental concerns, the financial effects are also growing — pinching large supermarket chains and low-income residents.

Beverage container recycling rates in California have fallen below 80% for the first time since 2008, according to data recently released by the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery, or CalRecycle. In 2016, 79.8% of beverage containers were recycled, down from 81% in 2015. The beverage container recycling rate had reached a high of 85% as recently as 2013."

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When it comes to recycling, you're (probably) doing it wrong

QUICK READ: "America, please stop tossing diapers, cellphones and plastic bags into your recycling bins.

And while you're at it, that's a no for batteries, garden hoses or electrical cords, too (Yes, incredibly, some people are trying to recycle their hoses).

Sure, you probably mean well when you throw all of that into your bins. But that's the problem with "wish-cycling:" People are throwing things into bins that aren't actually recyclable in the hopes that they can somehow — magically — be recycled. When there's too much junk in the mix, a large portion of other recyclables gets sent to landfills."

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How would things be different if everybody recycled? Here's a great article on the idea...
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Furniture giant Ikea invests in plastics recycling

QUICK READ: "Ramping up its sustainability efforts, furniture giant Ikea has invested a 15 percent minority stake in Morssinkhof Rymoplast, a plastic recycling plant in the Netherlands. The plant has the capacity to produce more than 220,000 tons of high-grade recycled materials per year.

This effort goes hand-in-hand with the company’s goal of using 100 percent recyclable and/or recycled materials by August 2020."

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School milk carton recycling keeps 10 tons from landfill

QUICK READ: "A student-led recycling effort at one of Green Bay's smallest schools will keep about 1,000 pounds of trash out of the landfill this year.

Wequiock Elementary School, with about 100 students, is one of eight Brown County schools participating in a new milk carton recycling program. Combined, participating schools in the Ashwaubenon, De Pere, Green Bay and Howard-Suamico school districts expect to keep more than 10 tons of trash out of the landfill — and that's just a start."
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QUICK READ: "Unfortunately for our planet, our modern conveniences come with a slew of modern problems. The computers, video displays and portable electronics that make our digital age possible also make for millions of tons of waste every year, heading to a landfill near you.

Those tons of waste also contain a silver lining — and a little gold, some platinum and palladium, too. According to dosomething.org, just the old cell phones dumped in America every year contain approximately $60 million in gold and silver.

Paul Smith learned about recycling when he worked for a company in Colorado called Cartridges for Kids, which recycled used laser jet ink and toner cartridges. After the Redondo Beach, California, native met his wife Brandi and relocated to New Iberia, he found there was a niche to be filled in the local ecological food chain."

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QUICK READ: "With the recent closure of the Sarpy County landfill, there was concern in Bellevue that increased transportation costs could also mean losing control over solid waste costs. Trash is now taken to a transfer station at the old landfill in Springfield and then taken about 60 miles west to a privately owned facility. Recyclables are taken to a facility in Omaha."

A year and a half into the experiment, recycling rates in the two neighborhoods have tripled. While the rest of the city has a recycling rate of 7 percent, Castle Ridge and Southern Oaks now have a recycling rate of 20.8 percent."

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In Montclair, New Jersey, the town has installed 40 smart waste disposal units in various locations, in an effort to reduce the operating costs of waste disposal. Pretty revolutionary!
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In Tokyo, Japan, even the city's waste is being re-purposed. A man-made island composed of trash will one day become a park, built with paving stones created from compacted trash. Check it out!
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