For years, recycling services have been considered an important way for communities to prevent negative consequences from affecting their local environment. After all, the sheer amount of waste that is created by modern society is surprisingly large: studies show that the average person generates four pounds of trash every day, creating 1.5 tons of solid waste over the course of a year. But while 75% of this waste is recyclable, research indicates that only around 30% is actually subjected to recycling services. Instead, the average person likely hands their garbage over to more traditional waste disposal companies, who will send it to a landfill.
The city of Decatur, IL, however, has found a new way to encourage its residents to recycle. In previous years, people in the community were required to group their different items by type before handing them over to local waste management services if they were to be recycled. As a result, only 12% of households regularly took part. Now, thanks to a process called single-stream recycling, residents can simply collect their recyclable materials together, as recycling services will separate them later.
Since the program began in 2011, the city has seen the area’s recycling efforts exceed their expectations: while city authorities reportedly aimed to increase the number of recycling residents to 30% by 2020, Decatur has already reached a 57% participation rate. Moreover, city officials have remarked that they are still getting one or two requests a day for their plastic recycling bins, suggesting that the program will continue to grow.
Currently, research shows that while the United States makes up only 4% of the world’s population, it is the number one producer of waste. However, by making the effort to reuse and recycle rather than simply disposing of waste, it is possible to conserve a significant amount of energy and conserve our environment. Contact one of your local recycle centers today to learn how you can help your area. Continue reading here.