Annually, Rumpke welcomes more than 10,000 visitors to its facilities for tours and conducts hundreds of presentations about recycling. In the past decade, there has been a tremendous surge in recycling, with more families on-board as awareness and availability grow.
But not everyone is convinced. The following counters the most common excuses for NOT recycling, and provides solutions to help you recycle more and trash less.
Excuse #1: I’m Confused about What to Recycle
What They Say: “I have too much stuff – plastic stuff, paper stuff and metal stuff … more and more stuff. How can I keep straight what to recycle and what to trash?”
Consider This: Rumpke makes recycling easy and convenient. First, visit this web page for a list of acceptable items. A list can also be found on your Rumpke recycling container.
Remember, it’s okay to start small. Get in the habit of recycling the basics, like newspapers, cardboard boxes, drink bottles and cans. Once that habit is formed, you can add in more, such as shampoo bottles, cereal boxes, office paper and cartons.
Excuse #2: The Stuff Doesn’t Actually Get Recycled
What They Say: “I’ve seen them put recycling in the trash truck. They’re just taking it to the landfill.”
Consider This: Rumpke is actively searching for more opportunities to recycle as the industry continues to grow. In the past five years alone, Rumpke has invested more than $50 million in the latest recycling technologies in order to process the millions of pounds of material our customers generate each year.
Also keep in mind that Rumpke often collects trash and recycling in the same “style” of truck, which may follow each other en route. The trash truck that just went by may be followed by a second similar truck, designated for only recycling.
Still not convinced? Schedule a tour and see firsthand how the recycling process works.
Excuse #3: I’m Just One Person
What They Say: “It doesn’t really matter if I recycle or not. The impact I make is just a drop in the bucket.”
Consider This: Recycling is not a singular act. It’s a habit that generates TONS of material over a lifetime, and one that’s easily picked up by those around you.
Here’s the math. The little girl pictured here is three years old, and she loves to recycle. If she recycles a minimum of a half-pound of materials every day until she turns 80, what impact will she have?
- 80 years - 3 years = 77 years of recycling
- 77 years of recycling x 365 days per year = 28,105 days of recycling
- 28,105 days of recycling x 0.5 lbs. per day = 14,052.5 lbs of recycling
At a minimum, on her 80th birthday, she will have recycled more than 14,000 lbs. of recyclables. Based on recycling averages, that would be equivalent to saving enough energy to run a TV for almost 16,500 hours by recycling aluminum cans. She will have also saved nearly 75 trees by recycling paper.
Recycling has a ripple effect. Teach others how to recycle or merely lead by example. Each person you bring on board will exponentially increase your impact, especially when you consider the influence they will have on others.
Excuse #4: It’s Not Easy
What They Say: “It takes so much time to recycle. You have to separate the items.”
Consider This: Recycling is simpler than ever. Rumpke uses a process called “single stream recycling,” which means all recyclables can be mixed – no separation required. We take care of the sorting.
Try placing a recycling container next to your trash can (we suggest starting in the kitchen). Then, when you go to throw something away, it takes no extra effort to recycle it.
Also, recycling options are widely available. Rumpke provides many communities with curbside recycling, which means recycling is as easy as walking to the curb. We also partner with many solid waste districts to offer public recycling drop-off programs. Public containers are placed at convenient locations such as fire stations, libraries, shopping centers and parks. Find a location near you.
Excuse #5: Why Should I Pay to Recycle?
What They Say: “Recycling should be free. I’m doing the right thing.”
Consider This: Our objective is always to make recycling a cost-effective alternative to landfilling. We get closer to that goal as recycling technology advances, participation improves and reliable end markets come into existence.
Remember, recycling is a business with associated costs. A truck alone may cost $225,000 to $275,000 before adding maintenance and upkeep. Employment is also a factor. Drivers, engineers, mechanics and many others are essential for daily operation.
While recyclables are ultimately sold, the markets fluctuate with demand and the economy. Money generated by selling recyclables may not ultimately account for collection, sortation and their associated costs.
No more excuses.
Recycling is quickly becoming a viable, affordable alternative to landfills, with more opportunities emerging every day. If you haven’t already joined us, we invite you to make an impact on the environment and those around you by recycling more and trashing less.
About the author: Jonathan Kissell is a communications supervisor for Rumpke.