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.