“It’s only waste if you throw it away” HOW DO YOU RECYCLE?
Earth Day is a good time to ask, “When we throw something away, where does it go?” We did a little research and found out that two-thirds of all trash created by Americans ends up in landfills and Incinerators. Together, we can change that by recycling because it’s good for our earth, good for our communities and good for our wallets!
You can do your part for #EarthDay w these #recycling facts from the @cabotcheese #GreenTeam Click To Tweet
Earth day is special to Cabot; it’s a day dedicated to encouraging people to come together to think about solutions to a global issue, and as a cooperative, we love seeing people work together. On April 22nd, millions of people in dozens of countries around the world will be speaking the same language; the language of love for our planet, big blue.
In honor of Earth Month, the Cabot Green Team took a field trip to Casella Zero-Sort® Recycling to learn how recycling works. And learn we did, so we thought we’d share some tips and tricks with you.
Let’s talk plastics. It was more than 40 years ago that the first universal recycling symbol was introduced but only 9 percent of plastics are getting collected for recycling. Most community recycling programs accept some, but not all types of plastics. That’s tough on our home recycling efforts and tough for our environment.
But it’s also tough on our wallets. Globally, a value of $80-120 billion in plastic packaging is used, tossed and lost to the economy annually. That’s a lot of money down the drain. Looking at the bright side, that’s also a lot of opportunity to impact positive change.
Gimme 5: a recycling program created to encourage consumers and retailers to “close the loop” in their products’ lifespans launched a couple of years ago. Many food companies use #5 plastics because they are lightweight and help to reduce the amount of plastic needed to make a single container. Unfortunately, more than a third of American communities don’t accept this type of plastic for recycling.
Each year, Preserve collects an average of 250,000 lbs of #5 plastic through the Gimme 5 program. And they work with our B Corp sister Plum Organics to do this along with Stonyfield, both of which are primary partners of the program. Since Stonyfield joined, Preserve has collected the equivalent of 40 million yogurt cups. And of course, Gimme 5 will take Cabot yogurt, sour cream and cottage cheese cups too! Find a Gimme 5 bin near you.
“Public facing partnership helped to ignite a groundswell of demand for closed loop solutions for #5 plastics.” – Preserve
So, go ahead and clean out your #5 plastics and give them a new life. Here are some other ways you can up your game when it comes to recycling.
5 Important Recycling Tips
- Bottle Caps – make sure you put your caps back on bottles before throwing them into your recycle bin. Why? Small items like bottle caps jam up the machines that sort your recycling.
- Electronics – think before you toss. Check online to see if you can recycle electronics somewhere near your home:Call2Recycle and Earth911
- Think before you buy: is the item you’re buying in a recyclable package? Look for items with less packaging or buy refillable, reusable containers. And look for products made from recycled plastic materials.
- Asked to be removed from paper mailing lists.
- Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs and use rechargeable batteries.
- Create clear messaging at home and at work on what can and can’t be recycled or composted.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do the symbols mean on the bottom of plastic bottles and containers?
The numbers 1 -7 simply help identify the type of plastic resin used to make a container, plastic manufacturers put these on so that you can determine if your local recycling program accepts the plastic.
Where does my recycling go after it leaves my house?
After recyclables are collected, they are cleaned and processed to be bought and sold just like raw materials would be, and prices go up and down depending on supply and demand in the United States and globally.
- Reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills and incinerators
- Conserves natural resources such as timber, water, and minerals
- Prevents pollution by reducing the need to collect new raw materials
- Reduces greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change
- Helps sustain the environment for future generations
- Helps create new well-paying jobs in the recycling and manufacturing industries in the United States
Recycling also saves energy – a lot of it. Check out some common recyclables and what that means in energy savings!
1 Aluminum Can saves enough to power a laptop for 5 hours
1 Glass Bottle saves enough to power a 60 W CFL lightbulb for 8 hours
1 Plastic Bottle saves enough to power a hair dryer for 10 minutes
10 Plastic Grocery Bags saves enough to run an air conditioner for 10 minutes
Earth day is coming up and we can all do our part. Take a couple of these tips with you to the grocery store or to work or school. Share with friends and family and remember that even one plastic bottle or one plastic grocery bag makes an impact.
Happy Recycling from all of us at Cabot!
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Ann Hoogenboom is Cabot’s Sustainability Coordinator and gets to share the latest and greatest in sustainability news from our farm families. As a Vermont native and lover of all things green, she’s proud of the socially responsible business role that Cabot plays for our cows, our creamery, our community and our customers.