“We don’t need a handful of people doing Zero Waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.” –Anne-Marie Bonneau, Zero Waste Chef
Some of you may have noticed that Media Borough now offers a 45-gallon recycling bin. Why, you may ask?
It is a rule of thumb in the recycling world (supported by research) that the bigger the bin, the greater the volume (and weight) of recycling collected.
The Borough’s first green recycling bin, back in the early 2000’s, was 20 gallons in size. In 2009, we launched the 32 gallon bin. Residential recycling tonnage between 2007 and 2010 increased by 52%.
Furthermore, our new, larger receptacle comes on wheels. Research shows that converting from a bin (no wheels) to a cart (wheels) can increase recycling weight up to 28%.
Advantages to Media residents? The bigger, wheeled receptacle makes recycling easier. It gives us plenty of room for our recycled stuff. We don’t need to store 2 or 3 smaller bins to handle all our recycling. And we up our residential recycling tonnage, getting our Borough a larger annual Act 101, Section 904 recycling reimbursement award from the state.
BUT – and this is a big but – the size of the bin does not matter if you are not recycling correctly.
In 2018, China banned the import of recycled plastics because they were not arriving clean enough. The recycling commodity market bottomed out. Since then, there has been a rise in technology and other tactics here to increase cleaner recycling streams and recycling facilities. It is all the more important now to make sure the recycled materials filling your bin are washed or rinsed.
Also, don’t just throw anything you think MIGHT be recyclable into your big new bin. Check Media Borough’s official list of acceptable materials in the Public Works section of the website. Keep a copy of the Media Borough Waste Manual on hand for quick reference. You can print one from the website or pick one up at the Borough Offices, second floor Borough Hall, Mon.-Fri., 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.
And remember, just because something has a triangle and a number does not always mean it can be recycled. For instance [ahem], old recycling bins. In the greatest of ironies, recycling bins cannot be recycled. Even though they have a recycling triangle. But if you cannot recycle your old bin, you can re-use it for other purposes: in your workshops, to clean out your basements, to grow potatoes. Just don’t put it out as a trash receptacle—it would be very confusing.