Monday, July 8, 2013

Insiders Glimpse

CRI Single Stream Operations.

Here are some shots of our single stream system chuggin' away. The material is pouring in and the recycling process has begun.

Single stream might seem like an easier recycling solution but just like when you were sorting it yourself, please keep out garbage! Nearly all items that were labeled trash in the past continue to be. While getting some quick shots to post here I saw a some obvious garbage that needed to be sorted out. As a general rule the following items are always considered non recyclable during standard curbside collection or drop off (really, they were out there)

Mattresses (although I've heard they can be recycled it has to be a special collection item and if mixed in with the recycled will be trashed)
Diapers (clean or especially dirty)
Food Waste (Again, we compost but it cannot be mixed in with your recycling it just makes garbage)
Doggie & Kitty "Bi-products" (I know that no one wants to hang on to the foul smelling baggie for long but prior to chucking please ensure that it's a garbage bin and not a recycling wouldn't want to be the poor soul who is on the sorting line pulling out trash.)

Those were some of the big offenders but there is plenty of items that get thrown in the bin merely because its closer than the garbage. Please remember the goal of recycling is collect and ensure that every possible item is reused. Mixing garbage in with the recyclables only increases contamination and can negatively effect the ability to reprocess items that were previously highly recyclable.

Why do I always feel the need to say that we haven't flip flopped on this topic? If you're familiar with past blog posts, we stand behind the idea that dual stream separated material continues to have less residual (trash downgrades) then comparable single stream sources. Maintaining the highest recyclability and product quality is a recyclers goal.  Market demand has required single stream collection and processing, we continue our goal of optimizing the recycled content and reducing waste however possible.

Friday, July 5, 2013

I try..

I recently read a blog post (which CRI shared on Facebook) about the "secret" confessions of someone who tries to be green but struggles with not so eco moments. The blog really spoke to me. I make a large effort to keep it green. I do really well most times but there are still areas that I could use some real improvement.

I have a paper towel addiction. I've tried to opt for sponges and reusable towels but nothing has quite done the trick for me as well as paper towels (especially in a pinch with many'o spills with small children). Reusable towels created more laundry and I could never get them to look clean again after cleaning up something like grape juice or strawberries. I'd pull them out in front of company and be convinced that they were judging us as someone who "forgot" to do the wash. I feel guilt as I pull a towel off the roll - the good news is that when you compost.. it's not so bad (yes, now I'm justifying).

The nice thing about life in general is that despite some failures you have plenty of chances to shine. Our family has done really great in trying to eliminate on the go baggies specifically in packing lunches or on dinners on the fly. In the spring/summer sports season, we often need to eat on the move.  I've purchased some super cute containers that eliminate the need for baggies as well as recycling some lunch meat containers that work great for holding sandwiches and a side. There are lots of positives to these baggy alternatives because not only are they reusable ( I  tried to reuse baggies but sometimes day old mayo that sat out in the sun just isn't something I'm looking to clean out of the bag and put it back to work.. smell and all) they are also easier to hold, use, and pack (they actually don't smash your sandwich).

I've found that most times when I've changed our habits in an attempt to be more environmentally friendly, I've also saved our family some cash. Anyone have any great green ideas, we'd love to hear them!