By Meher McArthur, LOZ FELIZ LEDGER
January 30, 2020
Last year, California lost almost 300 recycling centers when the recycling center chain RePlanet closed in August, citing decreasing prices for aluminum and PET plastic and rising operating costs and wages.
According to a report last year from nonprofit Consumer Watchdog, more than 40% of California’s recycling centers have closed in the last five years, resulting in consumers losing out on half of their bottle and can deposits and causing more of those bottles and cans to end up in landfills.
At a time when we are generating more waste than ever, the idea of sending more waste to landfills is horrifying. But there are a few ways we can reduce the contents of our blue bins.
For residents used to redeeming bottles and cans at recycling centers, state law provides alternatives. Dozens of gas stations, pharmacies and supermarkets in L.A. are required to redeem them in-store (find a list of nearby redemption centers at calrecycle.ca.gov).
Consider opting out of junk mail delivery (visit dmachoice.org to have your name and address removed from unsolicited marketing lists) to reduce unneeded paper.
As for all that plastic packaging, a couple of state bills, AB-1080 and SB-54, seek to reduce plastic packaging, but they are struggling to pass.
We can write to our state assembly members and senators urging them to pass these bills, but as consumers, we can send an even stronger message to manufacturers and retailers by refusing to purchase over-packaged goods.
Several grocery stores, including Lassens and Whole Foods, offer bulk bins, allowing you to fill up your own reusable bags and containers with pantry staples and eschew packaging entirely.
Now, back to those blue bins. Why not order a smaller blue bin from the city? Or, try taking longer to fill it up by putting it out on the curb every 2 or 3 weeks instead of weekly. Limiting our own space for trash and recyclables reminds us that space for our trash on this planet is finite.