Waste and Recycling Tag

26 Mar 2009 How to Avoid a Sustainable Packaging Dead End

In my opinion, there are some concepts and ideas in sustainability that are still not as well understood and accepted as they should be. Back in November, 2007 I wrote an article for Sustainable Is Good titled “The One Material Myth” . The theme of that article was that in many cases, a combination of two, easily separated and sorted materials is a much better sustainable solution compared to one material that is not as eco–friendly or as easily recycled. The key to that theory and statement is “easily separated and sorted”. Recently I have been seeing a rash of two material packaging products being sold under a green flag that are absolutely terrible in terms of sustainability. They are virtual green dead ends because the final outcome will always be a land fill. Eco Dead End Products bubble-mailersA terrific example of this is the cushioned or lined mailer envelope. The make and model is not important or whether the mailer is lined with foam or a bubble product. If the liner is fused to the paper, no one is going to separate and recycle either material so the whole mailer winds up in the trash. The mailer in the photo brags about its 100% recycled paper with 25% PCR. Don’t get me wrong.  I think it is wonderful that they are using recycled content paper. However I know the unsuspecting public is buying this product, thinking they are doing a good thing for the environment and not even realizing that since it is lined with a plastic bubble cushion inside, it cannot and will not ever be recycled.
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26 Jun 2008 What Happens to Our Recycled Stuff?

Ever wonder what happens to your aluminum cans, food containers, corrugated boxes, and other recyclables after they are picked up at the curb? We did, and not long ago got a tour of Waste Management's recylcing facility on Chicago's South Side. This facility happens to be one of the largest in the country. Here's an inside look. Recycled materials are delivered in a transfer trailer --
recycled materials transfer trailer
Unsorted materials are dumped into a big pile, which looks surprisingly neat --
incoming recycled materials
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