May 30, 2024

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Make Recycling Easy by Offering Curbside Pickup, Other Incentives

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The U.S., like the rest of the world, has a garbage problem. In fact, we tend to have one of the biggest trash problems, because we are one of the largest nations and, because of our large economy, we consume more than other countries. In fact, the average person generates about 4 pounds of trash every day, which works out to nearly 1,500 pounds a year. That’s a lot of trash, and it illustrates how important it is for people to recycle as much as possible of the waste they generate.

There are a number of benefits to recycling. One of the most obvious is the lessening of the burden on the environment. For example, recycling one ton of cardboard saves more than 9 cubic yards of space in landfills. Another environmental benefit of recycling is that it can keep potentially harmful substances from polluting. Things discarded in landfills can leach into the ground and into waterways.

Another big benefit of recycling is that it can actually save money in many cases. It actually costs considerably less to recycle items than to send them to the landfill. It’s about $30 on average to recycle a ton of items, while it costs $50 on average to send waste to a landfill.

Recycling involves more than just diverting your glass, paper, cardboard and plastic from the landfill. Food and lawn waste also take up a tremendous amount of space in landfills, so recycling those items is important. You can mulch your lawn clippings and compost food waste. This not only diverts those substances from landfills but it also can provide you with natural fertilizer.

Most people know the value of recycling, but they want it to be easy to do. Cities can help the process by making it as seamless as possible. Requiring recycling is a good idea, but if such a policy exists, it should include curbside pickup services for recycling. Curbside pickup will make it as easy to recycle as it is to set out the trash. Another good policy is to allow single-stream recycling, which does not require people to separate out the different kinds of recycling. In addition to curbside pickup, it’s also important to offer drop-off locations around the city for people who want to recycle but don’t want to or can’t afford to pay an additional fee for pickup.

Recycling is important, but it also can be time-consuming. Cities can help boost recycling rates by doing everything they can to make the process easy and offering incentives for their residents to do so.