I am incredibly impressed with the number of initiatives within my city that are taking action and making bold moves to create a healthy planet for future generations. Knowing how to start is one of the hurdles that I often hear. Hence me writing these 4 easy steps with the hope that it gives you a little extra boost to get going. Join me in the recycling revolution!
STEP 1: GET BINS
I would suggest having three separate bins. A Dry Waste bin, Wet Waste bin and Non-Recyclable and Food Waste bin. Although this may seem a lot at first, there certainly are alternative options if you are just starting out. I initially used large dog food bags for all Wet Waste and a laundry basket for all Dry Waste when I started my journey. I did this to get an estimate of what size bins I would need if I opted for a weekly collection. I gained what I needed from that experiment. But I’m not going to lie, when I started out with the laundry baskets and the dog food bags, it all seemed a little scattered. Until finally, I knew what size bins to purchase, how often I required a collection and where to locate my bins in our home for easy practical access. The teething process was worth it!
Want to know more about what goes into these bins? Check out Understanding your recycle bins.
STEP 2: EDUCATE YOURSELF
This rings true when starting anything new in life. It is always vital to start with your right foot forward. Contact different recycling companies to find out if they do collections in your area and what they cannot recycle. Living along the coast, I would suggest sticking to the companies that accept plastic as it is one of our most common man-made ocean pollutants. Every company has different requirements from their customers.
There’s also no harm in finding a few facts to use as motivation when first starting out. Although there is a lot of negativity around these facts, I do believe that importance lies in being aware.
STEP 3: PRACTISE SORTING
“Pelyethylene Terephthalate, High Density Polyethylene, Polyvinyl
Chloride, Low Density Polyethylene, Polypropylene, Polystryrene and
I bet you were thinking “Gosh this loony is talking gibberish!” Welcome to the world of plastic! But please don’t let that chase you away because there is a much simpler way to sort your plastics. Want to know how?
Most plastic will have the recycling symbol with a number inside. Match it up next to your recycling chart (provided by your recycling company) and voila, no gibberish, just easy recycling. 1.2.3! After no time, you’ll be sorting like a pro without having to refer to your chart.
STEP 4: FIND A COLLECTION COMPANY
I recently looked into how many recycling companies service residential areas in South Africa and came across some pretty great ones:
GreenCycle in Port Elizabeth
Recycle 1st in Cape Town
Whole Earth in Johannesburg
The companies listed above are all community-based projects that increase job creation and are hassle-free. They mostly do all the sorting for you and collect on a weekly basis.
Recycling is a change of lifestyle and will take initial adjustment and commitment. What is important to remember, though, is to ensure that whatever system or approach you choose to use, it must be functional for your lifestyle. Do research on what options are available to you in your area and don’t be afraid to tell your friends. This only encourages healthy accountability and will most likely create a ripple effect for more recyclers to join.
Did you say that you are in? That-a-girl!