Beyond Recycling: Strategies for Low-Waste Households

By popular demand, Alex Wilson, presenter of Beyond Recycling: Strategies for Low Waste Households has provided a brief summary on how you can reduce dependency on plastic by focusing on three specific areas .

Thanks to Alex and all of our presenters for the latest round of Walk & Talk workshops

Alex Wilson is studying environmental law at W&L

Fossil fuel companies would have you believe that recycling will save the planet. However, that is simply not the case. In the U.S., only 9% of all plastic is recycled. Further, it is estimated that 90% of all plastic ever produced is still on earth today. As consumers, our options extend far beyond recycling.

In my life, I focus on reducing my carbon footprint in three ways. First, I focus on areas where I can consume less. For example; I eat a vegetarian diet, I switched from paper towels to rags made from old t-shirts and refuse all single-use items. Second, when shopping I do so with great intention. I focus on second hand, companies whose ethics match my own, using refillable containers whenever possible and, if necessary, on materials that can be recycled here in Rockbridge County. Third, when necessary to dispose of materials, I do so in a manner that supports a circular economy. It’s important to note that more than just the traditional materials are recyclable. Clothing, electronics, batteries and light bulbs can all be recycled. Also, composting is an excellent way to keep organic material out of landfills, which reduces the amount of methane that is released into the atmosphere.

While our dollars speak loudly to corporations, there are other things we can do that have the potential for even greater impact. Vote for people that will enact positive change. Petition the local government for better recycling, community compost and a ban on single use plastics. Finally, talk to people, especially those people who are not interested in environmental issues. Building environmental awareness in communities will move the conversation forward and inspire greater change than just doing things yourself.

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