Recycle vs Reuse – the truth about household waste recycling…
Reused, reclaimed and re-purposed building materials do WAY more for the environment than your blue bin does… In fact, the blue bins may be doing more harm than good…
You put your recycling in the correct bin, you clean it diligently, but are you really helping the environment..?
Shortly after the city of Calgary implemented its blue bin recycling program, it became apparent that the program was succeeding in making people feel as though they were doing their part to help the environment, but that it actually had a negative environmental impact, as the city had doubled the number of garbage trucks — and thus the amount of CO2 going into the atmosphere — overnight.
The big problem with household recycling programs is that most of our waste has little to no value. And while it might seem self-evident that the things we throw in the trash are usually worthless, this fact has somehow managed to escape well-meaning people who constantly perpetuate the false notion that more recycling equals a better environment.
A few materials – mostly metals – that do retain their value are recycled by private companies that make money off them. Other products may one day become valuable as the resources used to make them become scarce. However, by the time scarcity boosts value it will surely be too late… At the moment, unfortunately, most household waste costs more money to recycle than it is actually worth. That often means that it takes more resources to recycle something than to use fresh inputs. This puts a huge burden on taxpayers who are forced to subsidize municipal recycling systems.
What does this really mean to the truly environmentally conscious among us?
Well, the other two ‘R’s aren’t in any doubt:
Reducing waste works, there cannot be any error in the math there – try to buy things with less packaging – or none at all;
Reusing is also key to the earth-lover’s strategy for saving the planet.
Did you know, that according to the Government of Canada’s very own website, their own reports site the need to reduce landfill and state that “Surveys have indicated that as much as one third of the 20 million tonnes of solid waste of municipal waste streams is generated by construction, renovation and demolition activities” (this can be found in “The Environmentally Responsible Construction and Renovation Handbook”, through Public Works and Government Services Canada).
So, if you want to do something that REALLY DOES HELP – a huge reduction of waste can be achieved by the use of reclaimed building materials – both by electing to utilize them and by offering them for reuse by others rather than sending them to pollute the ground. The beauty of this? Not only are we saving our beautiful planet, but we save money, too!
This is why we do what we do. It’s not the best paying business in the world. We need people to get behind us to make it work. So if you have building materials, furniture, fittings, or items somebody could use again – or if you have a work planned that could incorporate something somebody else no longer needs, then please visit us before you spend your money – and that of other tax payers’ if you’re sending stuff to the dump – and try to help us protect our planet.