Day 15: DIY Recycling

We are super lucky in Vancouver because we have great curbside pickup (paper, aluminum, and 4 kinds of plastic), and I definitely know from traveling around that curbside recycling is poor to non-existent in some parts of North America. However, I read an interesting comment the other day (I apologize to the author because I can’t remember where I saw it). Basically said:

It’s strange that we are willing to go to the grocery store to pick up our own food, but not to go to the recycling depot to drop off our own waste.

They’re both essential daily tasks that have to do with the garbage we accumulate -stuff in, stuff out- but we have totally different mindsets about the roles we should play in them.

In that train of thought, I saw an amazing video posted on The Rubbish Diet of a town in Japan that recycles and composts everything and makes the citizens responsible for their own waste. They don’t have garbage pick up at all! It actually looks like a fair bit of work since they have 34 containers to sort things into, but everyone participates and they seem to have zero waste going to the landfill. Check it out here.

They’re doing a whole lot better than the recycling rate here in Canada which is at 26.8% according to Statistics Canada. That means that 73.2% of the waste we generate never makes it to a recycling facility!

I could say something cynical here about it being human nature to just do what we feel is convenient, but I think I’ll just stick with how I’m inspired by that entire community of Japanese recyclers and thank goodness I only have to separate my recycling into 5 bins!

On the inspiration side, I happily discovered that we have unwittingly fulfilled the past two months of challenges from My Zero Waste by sourcing recycling facilities in our area and setting up a convenient (there’s that word again) recycling system at home. If you want to join in, I challenge you to go to their website and take part. If you’re already making some changes or leading a less-waste or consumer-free lifestyle, we’d love to hear about it.

4 Comments

Filed under recycling

4 responses to “Day 15: DIY Recycling

  1. Grant

    Thanks for the update Jen, I never know what your upto on the computer all the time

  2. Found you! 4 types of plastic from kerbside!! I can’t believe that.

    We have no collections and all we can take to our recycling centres are plastic milk bottles, washing up liquid bottles and drinks bottles – they are all PET1.

    Thanks for the mention of our site and I’m so thrilled that here you are, on the other side of the world doing exactly the same. I love to think of us all linking hands across the globe to do our bit.

    I must admit, I think ‘convenience’ plays a huge part in our lives; I know it does in mine and wherever I’ve ‘failed’ with our challenge, it’s usually been down to a choice of convenience.

    One step at a time😉

  3. Christine

    Thats such an awsome thing to do. Its quite a challenge, but its worth it to the environment. I watch David Suzuki’s speeches about our economy and the environment and they are sooo true. This society is using stuff as if it will never run out…sad.
    I haven’t even been using my car for a good year….and I have been trying to make our home more energy efficient. I don’t even use those veggie bags at the store.

    Anyhoo….its great to see people like you guys make an effort towards our environment. Its fun too.

  4. righttrash

    Thanks for the comments guys. It’s inspiring to see that there are so many other people out there changing their lifestyles. It definitely takes a bit more time and organization, but you really value the things you have and the choices you make when you put the effort in!

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