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Compost: Nature's Recycling

Most waste disposal configurations include paper, plastic, metal, glass, and landfill; however, we frequently forget about how the planet recycles.

Photo of Alisha Snyder
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Composting is the process of putting carbon back into the environment.  When food scraps breakdown, become rich soil that can be used for organic farming.  

CLEAN PLASTIC ONLY: Plastic is supposed to be rinsed and free of debris before sorted into recycling.  In public settings, it is inconvienient for users to clean their plastic before disposing of it, which means more often than not it will go into landfill garbage.  

BEHAVIOR AT PROGRESSIVE FIELD: At the Cleveland Indians stadium, Cleveland Institute of Art did a behavioral study.  For every trashcan there must be a recycling station so that people have the option to make the "right choice".  The students included composting at these stations.  Giving people more chances to choose recycling and composting ultimately improves impact.  

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Photo of James Moynagh

Just a quick question Alisha, are we saying that if you have a mineral bottle and there is some of the mineral in it when disposed in public that this goes to landfill as its not clean or by what reference do you term clean/unclean?

Photo of Alisha Snyder

I'm referring mainly to food matter that can be residual; if recyclables are left unclean, they can cause problems at the recycling plant. Most people won't take the time or effort to rinse out the sticky peanut butter residue from the jar once it's "empty", so it ends up in the trash. I feel like this is actually one of the biggest road blocks of recycling.

To my knowledge liquids, especially liquids that aren't sticky like water, do not cause problems like food particulate.

Photo of James Moynagh

Interesting. I never knew that. I know personally I would wash and clean a jar or a tin after I use it, not for the reason you mention but rather just cos I subconsciously believed that was right, plus it doesn’t look as messy or if sitting there for a week or two start causing a smell or mold building up. I know my housemate said it once or twice to me (he probably thought I was mad) but he asked why was I bothering to clean them, what was the point. It’s clear that when it comes to promoting maybe we need to highlight the fact that the containers need to be cleaned first because not everyone may be aware of this.