Act as if NOTHING gets recycled

Best and most reliable advice I can give about recycling. Unless you know differently for your specific town/city/area, at this point it’s best to assume that nothing gets recycled. And do our best to modify our grocery shopping and other purchases accordingly.

It sounds bleak but never fear, there is good news too. Stay tuned, I’ll be back later to add to this post; just need to do some composting tasks.

OK I’m back. The good news is that everything gets “recycled,” eventually. What I’m talking about is Mother Nature’s recycling bin. Compost.

In one of the first permaculture design courses I took, back around 2005, I heard a saying, “Everything composts.” The instructor was talking about a landfill in Vancouver where someone noticed that batteries were decomposing.

At the time, this came as a great revelation. But I have noticed many other examples over the years, of everything breaking down in nature. Tin cans rust and dissolve; even plastic disintegrates. Does this exempt us from being careful? No! For example, micro-plastic particles are proving deadly to waterways and marine life.

What it does suggest, though, is that compost bins and other compost facilities have a wider role to play than we may have thought, in breaking down “waste.”

Ultimately, we need to not make packaging that’s not either readily compostable or truly recyclable or both. In the meantime, I refuse whatever I can. Then reduce to a minimum, then reuse, then compost what I can. And then inevitably, some things end up in the trash or the recycling bin.

But I always think it’s best to assume nothing gets recycled unless I recycle it myself.