“Recycling isn’t just good for the planet by reducing the amount of waste going to landfills and saving energy, it also supports American manufacturing.” – the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Due to the current pandemic at hand, many of those who commute to an office every day has now had to make a sudden shift and begin to work from home for the past few months. With these unexpected changes, there’s more to consider besides creating new work and home balance or making sure that you’re not stuck inside all day long. Now more than ever, it’s important for those who are spending the majority of their time at home know the importance of recycling and why it’s important to do so. The importance and need of properly recycling and managing waste have become such a popular topic of discussion that towards the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security deemed waste collection as an essential service.
While recycled materials are a necessity to produce essential supplies needed during this time, such as sanitizing wipes, toilet paper, paper towels, and various packaging materials for products that need to be shipped, it’s important now more than ever for households to recycle to the continued supply of raw materials for the U.S. manufacturing. Earlier this month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) encouraged Americans to recycle materials from their households and properly dispose of personal protective equipment.
“With more people staying and working from home in an attempt to be healthy and safe, it presents a unique opportunity to create a recycling routine to better manage waste in an effort to help industries as well as the environment. Several manufacturers rely on recyclable materials in order to produce the wealth of products that we all enjoy. In placing recyclable items in their correct containers it can create excellent habits to keep that material flowing to the industries that need it most,” said Matthew Hollis, President of Elytus, a waste management company committed to helping their clients #wastenothing.
As the President of Elytus, Matthew Hollis knows a thing or two about waste management, Elytus has created proprietary software that helps its clients manage all of their waste disposal contracts, recycling efforts, and environmental initiatives. Their WinStream software audits the waste stream from a company to find inefficiencies and waste opportunities to become more sustainable.
While spending more time at home, people can more easily focus on waste prevention and how to recycle properly. “Follow guidelines from your local recycling service providers and only put items in your recycling bin that are accepted,” Hollis shared. “If your community isn’t processing recycling due to the sorting facilities being closed, then save back what is reasonable or look for other outlets to recycle or repurpose the materials. However, any guidance provided by the Center for Disease Control and state and local health guidelines should be followed during this time.”
In addition to learning about the importance of recycling during this time, many are dealing with new challenges when it comes to managing and reducing food waste. Easy changes can be made in order to reduce waste such as planning means, cooking with ingredients that are on hand, and storing and freezing food in order to make it last longer. Not only will this save money in the long run, but it also ensures that groceries are all used and fewer trips to the grocery store will be made. While medical waste management continues to be an important area of focus, the routing household waste collection is also essential in order to maintain a sanitary and safe environment.
“While the use of masks, wipes, and latex gloves are at an all-time high, it is important to note that these items cannot be recycled,” said Hollis. “Ensuring these items are thrown away helps the sorting facilities to provide clean, valuable materials to the manufacturers that need them. Lastly, if someone has COVID-19, make sure to bag all infected items and put them in the trash to help avoid potential infection of the sanitation workers. Lose items in the recycling or trash could be potential hazards that are avoidable.”
Here are a few tips about what can and cannot be recycled according to Waste Management:
- CAN BE RECYCLED
- Clean bottles
- Food and beverage containers
- CANNOT BE RECYCLED
- Plastic wrap
- Household items
- Medical waste
- No loose plastic bags
- No bagged recyclables