Good Life

Recycling: A wish list

The holiday season is here. Many of us will be heading to the stores this week to do some last-minute shopping. Some are planning delicious holiday meals while others are adding a few last-minute items to holiday wish lists. While I do not have a holiday wish list, per se, I do have a recycling wish list. I hope I am not preaching to the choir too much!

▪ I wish more businesses would recycle cardboard. It makes me cringe to see truck after truck dumping corrugated cardboard on our transfer station floor — the very same floor where 400 tons of trash is processed daily and landfill-bound. Yes, clean, dry, quality corrugated cardboard that could have been recycled will now take up space in a landfill. Why is it so much trouble to recycle cardboard? I wish I knew why people will pay $67/ton to throw perfectly good corrugated cardboard in the trash when there are so many other, less expensive, more environmentally friendly options.

▪ I wish it was easier to recycle while traveling. I can’t bring myself to throw a recyclable item in the trash, so I find myself loading up my purse or my car so I can recycle at home.

▪ I wish the Society of Plastics Industry had never decided to put the numbers 1-7 on plastic items. We are really trying to get away from the numbers in our program and educate recycling by the type of plastic, not by number. Yet, everyone wants to recycle by the numbers. I wish I could portray that the numbers on the bottom of plastic bottles, jugs, jars and containers are not relevant to our recycling program. Oh, recycling numbers, I wish you would please go away.

▪ I wish we didn’t waste so much. When I see the amount of trash that is disposed of in Centre County each day, it boggles my mind. As mentioned above, 400 tons of trash per day is processed at our transfer station. That’s almost 1 million pounds of trash generated in Centre County alone each day. I wish more of us would buy wisely and waste less.

▪ I wish companies would find a better way to package. Why mail a large box filled with multiple packaging materials to secure one tiny item inside? You all know what I am talking about. Why use a box the size of a television to ship an item the size of a USB flash drive? I wish I understood the minds behind excessive packaging.

▪ I wish recycling was not so complicated. Oh, the things I wish.

While I could go on and on, there are only so many words I am allowed per column and I wanted to use the remaining space to wish everyone a joyous and safe holiday season. Stay warm, eat well, laugh a lot and may all of your wishes come true.

Amy Schirf is education coordinator for the Centre County Recycling and Refuse Authority. For more recycling news or to request to receive facility updates, email aschirf@centrecountyrecycles org.