I hadn’t been reviewing my township’s recycling guidelines for a while and decided to print them out last month. We’ve done our best to follow them since. It’s resulted in our recycle bin going from 1/2 to 3/4 full each week to overflowing. The biggest increases are in cereal-box style cardboard and odd types of plastic containers that I don’t think were collected the last time I checked.
The environmental impact of recycling is obvious, but perhaps the ecomonic impact isn’t. Recycling allows producers easier access to already-refined materials, keeping them from having to find and source raw materials. I don’t profess to know the entire economic model here, but if consumers took more advantage of their municipal recycling programs there’d be more materials available to producers. Because they’re collected from a wide range of locations, these materials may be closer to the place of manufacturing and use than raw materials.
The doubly-good environmental impact of increasing recyclables, thereby reducing the amount of garbage send to landfills, and the economic impact of streamlining access to refined materials is easy for every citizen with access to recycling services to participate in. We have a second recycling container sticker and may need to use it soon!