A Word About Recycling with Ollie Maier

Last week we mentioned With China putting restrictions on how much contamination they will allow in imported recycled materials, a number of articles have been written about what efforts are being made in this country to compensate for it. Today we will take excerpts from a Waste Age newsletter article addressing it.

But first I want to comment on an item that was in a newspaper in Minnesota when I was visiting there. While it is still relatively new, it has to do with the Super Bowl game which was there last month – what a great game.

The item started out, “More than 90 percent of the 69 tons of gameday waste at the Super Bowl in Minneapolis this month was recycled, a record, according to the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority and its gameday partners.”

Of the recovered amount, 62 percent went for reuse as material for new items and 29 percent was composted.

Now to the main item for today. The article started off, “With waste materials piling up in the U.S. and other global markets, the China recycling ban enacted on Jan. 1 is already making an impact. A couple of months have gone by and China has showed no sign of reversing their policy, even though the waste industry around the world has stated their frustrations with the ban.”

It continued, “But, why continue to spend time and energy fighting this ban when we could instead focus on handling it here at home and making the necessary changes to adapt to our new recycling reality? Investing in technology across all levels of the waste life cycle can help the U.S. more efficiently manage our waste and even reduce our waste generation before it lands in the dumpster, therefore decreasing contaminated recyclables.”

The article then commented, “‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ is a mantra that has been around for a while, yet the focus is typically associated with the recycling component more so than on reducing and reusing waste. While recycling makes companies and consumers feel good, the thought of reducing waste often evokes something akin to a fear response from the public, as people feel they have a right to consume at their discretion.”

The writer of the article believed the ban that China made has opened our eyes to the fact that this approach is no longer reasonable or sustainable.

He feels with the emphasis now on new technology to find solutions to other problems, it can also be used to not only help in the recycle area, but also in the reduce and reuse areas. Better identification of the components of the waste and where it comes from will be a step in that direction.

He believes, “By continuously monitoring and analyzing waste in all phases of its life cycle – from the dumpster to the truck to the waste facility – waste services partners can offer actionable insights to their clients, enabling them to make data-driven decisions to reduce the amount of waste at the source.”

Since the above paragraphs address only the first part of the article mentioned, which we feel had information that could affect us all, we will continue taking from the article next week.

Till then, do have a great one...

--Ollie is a local citizen concerned with the environment and helping others. A retired Air Force fighter and instructor pilot, he is a graduate of Leadership San Marcos and received his degrees at Texas State University where he worked on staff before totally retiring. For questions or comments, he invites you to call him at 512-353-7432 or e-mail omaier@txstate.edu.

San Marcos Daily Record

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P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666