How the Pandemic has Changed How Much we Recycle at Home

In addition to the incredible health, economic, and social changes in our country, our nation’s supply chain has been drastically altered by the pandemic.

Many of us have also had to adjust to new household routines.  Some people have found themselves unemployed, furloughed, or working from home.  Most children have been out of school since March and may not be returning in September.  We are bulking up on packaged goods, food, and beverages more, while traveling and eating out less.

Because we are staying home more, that means we are also consuming more products at home instead of in restaurants, bars, stores, etc. Where recyclable items at restaurants like cardboard and aluminum were once being recycled in larger volumes, they are now being brought home and possibly thrown in the waste stream. 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, The average U.S. household has seen an increase of nearly 25% in waste being put on the curb each week.

Now, imagine what that could mean for the supply chain and the environment if people don’t do their part to recycle even the most basic commodities while at home!

Online ordering has soared during the pandemic, creating a large increase in the number of boxes thrown out by families every week.

4 Easy Items to Recycle At Home

We can all do our part to make sure that the items that can be recycled find their way to the correct part of the waste collector’s truck. If you are new to recycling, here are some basic items to look for and separate for your local waste collector that will make you a recycling superhero in your community:

Cardboard Boxes – Most residential dustbin collectors will pick up cardboard for recycling.  Be sure yours is separated from other commodities, break down the boxes so they are flat, and keep them from being soiled by fluids, food, or other contaminants.

Plastic Bottles– Bottled water and sports drinks are commonly bottled using PET. Rinse the bottles out and separate them with your recyclables.

High-density polyethylene (or HDPE) plastic  – Other squeeze bottles are made with HDPE.  Be sure to rinse these thoroughly and make sure your local recycler actually can use these items in their processes. 

Plastic bags should not be thrown in with recyclables.  Take them back to your local store to deposit there, or better yet, reuse them in your own future shopping.

Aluminum Cans – People are buying more packaged drinks in larger quantities, severely depleting the aluminum can supply chain.  Now that most aluminum producers are back operating at near or full capacity, we can do our part to make sure our pop and beer cans find their way to our recycling bin

Keeping Our Earth Sustainable for Generations

All of these factors have changed how much we recycle at home.  Now, more than ever, we need to be vigilant in our recycling efforts, not only to help the supply chain recover more quickly, but also to make sure we are taking care of the environment for generations to come.

Read more here >