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From Dumpster Divin’ To High Fivin’ August 9, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Nature, Sustainable Living.

IMGP2348bIn 2008, the Weather Channel aired Forecast Earth on Sunday nights.  At the end of one of the shows, Forecast Earth went dumpster diving on a massive scale ~ to a landfill in California which accepts 13,000 TONS of garbage a day.

They predicted that the 400 acre landfill would be filled to capacity in less than 5 years because  consumers are choosing NOT to separate out items that could be recycled easily (glass, metal, plastic, aluminum, cell phones, computers, etc.) from the rest of their garbage.

On a positive note, the methane gas from the site is being used to power a near-by electric plant, rather than being released into the atmosphere to wreak havoc on the environment.

That’s good, but we can do better:

* Americans toss 300 millions tons of trash into the garbage each year.

* We house 5% of the world’s population, and create 40% of the world’s garbage ~ on average, 1 ton of garbage, per person, per year!

Much of that garbage could be easily separated for recycling.

To encourage recycling, RecycleBank contracts with cities to reward residents for curbside recycling.  Founded in Philadelphia in 2004, RecycleBank has expanded to 26 states and the U.K. ~ now serving more than 1 million homes.

The company fits garbage and recycling trucks with a mechanical arm used to weigh each customer’s recycling.  That information is relayed to RecycleBank where points are deposited into the customer’s on-line account.


Families can use their accounts (worth up to $200 a year) to shop at hundreds of retailers, including Whole Foods, Gaiam, and eBay.

Ron Gonen, the C.E.O., recently told Sierra magazine, “We’ve increased recycling by at least 100 percent in the communities we’ve partnered with.”

Even if your community has not yet partnered with RecycleBank, you can earn points with RecycleBank for: sending in your old electronics, using RecycleBank’s exclusive credit card, or joining the eBay Green Team.

For more details:  Earn Points

RecycleBank encourages consumers to Live Green with sustainable living tips for home and garden:  Green Entertaining, Packing Easy Green School Lunches, Enjoying the Great Outdoors, Lawn Care, and Smarter Auto Care.

From Dumpster Divin’ to High Fivin’  –> Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle!

Sources: (1) Forecast Earth; (2) Jessi Phillips, Green Biz, Sierra Magazine, July/August 2010, Vol. 95, No. 4, p. 9; (3) RecycleBank website

* * * * *

If you’ve got a Green Business, learn how to promote your efforts by joining Green Business Network:

Join Green Business Network

Become part of the nation’s oldest, largest, and most diverse network of socially and environmentally responsible businesses.

Go Green for a more Sustainable Future


1. Loreen Lee - August 9, 2010

In Canada, recycling is obligatory, (as is having insurance if you want a driving license, i.e. mandatory by the government), and there are three recyclables: First week: garbage, Second Week: (in rotation) recycling of cans bottles, plastics and paper, and the pick up for the composting occurs on a weekly basis.). All of this is run by the government, and is charged as an obligatory tax, which comes to about $200.00 per family per year. I guess we’re just most democratic/socialist up here, yes. Yeah! for Canada. (grin grin)

nrhatch - August 9, 2010

Many/most communities in the states collect recycling curbside, and have since at least 1992 when we moved back to NJ.

Garbage pick up one day. Recycling pick up another day.

The problem: some people are too lazy (or ignorant) to separate out recyclables from the rest of their garbage.

Thanks for your comment ~ one thing I would LOVE to see here . . . curbside compost pick ups.

Loreen Lee - August 9, 2010

Thanks for your reply. I actually appreciate that our government is at least making recycling mandatory, even though there are still difficulties with such things as the Koyoto agreement and stuff like that. We also get flyers sent to our door on how to recycle, and a calendar also sent to us, which tells us which days, how to break up our recyclables, and where the depots are for things that can’t be recycled. We also have community eco days at least once a year, where we can get pointers on individual composting, and give up our batteries, and things that can’t be recycled. Nothing goes to waste here. My children’s father, who I see regularly, has received awards for his work in the compost-engineering! sector. He’s doing very good work there. (Just in case you can use some of these ideas down there; although I realize that these projects are being privately handled, rather than government sponsored. (We also have government sponsored health care, which I am very grateful for. Glad to see you’re doing that too!!!!) All the best.

2. Agatha82 - August 9, 2010

It is mandatory here to recycle at home, we get special bins for paper, glass and some kinds of plastics. We also have recycling bins along some roads and they’re even starting to appear along the high streets. Last time I went to visit Dad in Miami, I was shocked at how bad the recyling was, it made me cringe to just bin bottles and cans!

nrhatch - August 9, 2010

Like you, I cringe at the thought of co-mingling bottles and cans with the regular trash.

We recycle everything we can ~ paper, glass, plastic, aluminum, steel, tin, etc. But many do not.

When we are out and about, and there are no recycling bins around, we take our empties home. But many do not.

From my perspective, every trash can in a public place should have a recycling bin sitting adjacent to it.

It’s 2010 . . . time for US to wake up.

3. cindy - August 10, 2010

It should be mandatory to have public bins on every street corner.

nrhatch - August 10, 2010

I agree. Anywhere there’s a trash can, there should be a recycling bin.

4. nrhatch - August 10, 2010

Checked out a few of your posts on Trash Picking.
Way to Reuse and Recycle!!!

Keep up the good work.

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