We frequently preach the 3 R’s – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. The less litter we create, you see, the less litter ends up on our roadways and scenic places.
It’s simple – don’t make trash.
Since there are some things that must be thrown away, we always encourage that last R: Recycle. But some localities are beginning to have a problem with that. As more and more folks embrace the importance of litter prevention and waste reduction, those tasked with processing our recycling are beginning to weigh the cost/benefit of curbside recycling programs.
Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality recently reported that we’re doing a bang-up job of recycling things. The rate of recycling in the Commonwealth rose from 42% to 46% over the last year. The largest curbside recycling firm in our region is Central Virginia Waste Management Authority, and in 2018 they processed over 651,000 tons of material!
On November 15th of each year, we follow the lead of our parent organization, Keep America Beautiful, and put a spotlight on this issue with America Recycles Day. As we have for several years, we joined our friends at the Retail Merchants Association in Richmond for a convenient drive-through recycling event. Folks could reduce their household clutter, donate goods and clothing to be reused, and recycle materials to keep them out of a landfill somewhere. In addition to paper shredding, we processed 250 pounds of clothing, and 3,200 pounds of various electronics. This included computers, laptops, television sets, and more.
And we weren’t alone.
Across town in Powhatan, an event at Goodwill braved colder temperatures to take in 5,200 pounds of electronics, a lot of cardboard, 3,500 pounds of textiles, and 1,800 pounds of furniture. Several truckloads of those materials went to Habitat for Humanity.
We won’t recycle our way out of our litter problem, but numbers like these tell the powers-that-be that we’re not stopping anytime soon.