Some people think that getting communities to recycle 90% of trash or even having zero waste is possible. 34% of solid waste was recovered for recycling in America in 2010. 34% of waste could be composted. Steel recycling has reached an all-time high of 92% (steel is the most recycled material in the US). The recycling rate for automobiles is 94.5%.
Indeed, some localities and even nations now have recycling rates that are very encouraging for the idea of a zero-waste goal or a goal of carbon neutrality. Countries with leading rates for recycling are Switzerland, Austria, and Germany, each around 50%. Fresno, CA, has 73%. San Jose, CA is 62%. San Jose wants to divert 100% of its waste by 2022. The Flemish region of Belgium is 75%. And the Flemish region also has 110 second-hand shops with 3,861 employees.
While all this is encouraging, we need to do more- we need to talk about it, read about it, write about it, and work for expanded recycling. We should make it our goal to increase the recycling rates and types of materials recycled- for instance, adding food scraps and disposable diapers- in our own individual communities each year.
In upcoming posts, I’ll write about new sorts of recycling and reuse programs that will bring the world closer to being zero-waste and carbon neutral.
And here’s an idea I’d like to see taken up:
People should probably just rent halls and auditoriums, and give talks about the environment, recycling, and the connection between vegetarianism and the environment, etc., advertise it all over the community, and charge either a suggested donation, a small entrance fee, or nothing. It could be done under the auspices of PTAs, other school groups, church groups, etc., as well.
They should not only explain the problem and describe some illuminating or inspiring examples of what’s already been done as a solution, but put people in touch with resources to learn about being environmentally-conscious and to buy environmentally conscious consumer products, and to encourage people to be vegetarian and buy organic. They should connect vegetarianism, recycling, and organic products to their impact on global warming, logging, pollution, etc.
A big organization could even be started to promote people giving these kinds of talks all over the nation and all around the world. Materials could help teach people how to put a presentation together, suggest some facts to include, and tell them how to effectively advertise the presentation. Local participant groups could be encouraged to do at least several talks a year, and if things got big enough very effective speakers could also be sent on tour to participate in the events of local groups.
Thanks for reading the Save The Environment Diary!