Posted by Sponsored Post Posted on 28 September 2023

Why Most People Believe Lies About Recycling and Waste Management

It’s important to reduce our waste, recycle what we can, and rely on biodegradable materials rather than materials that never break down. But unfortunately, most people believe lies and myths in these areas, prompting them to follow irresponsible or neutral practices that don’t really help the environment.

Why do so many people still believe lies and myths about recycling and waste management?

The Genuine Desire for Sustainability

Some people are increasingly likely to believe lies and myths in this area because they have a genuine desire for greater sustainability in their own lives. They may not have the expertise to confidently explain how recycling and waste management work, and they may not have the time to research it, but they do want to make whatever little efforts they can to help the environment or avoid harming it. This is a reasonably noble motivation, and it applies to a wide variety of different areas – including some surprising ones.

According to Co-Owner/COO of In the Light Urns Rick Fraser, “More and more, people come to us looking for environmentally friendly funeral and cremation options. They want to minimize their environmental impact, connect to the environment, or both.” In the Light Urns offers many sustainable cremation urn, jewelry, and keepsake options – including biodegradable urns.  

It’s admirable to think about your environmental impact, especially while dealing with something as tough as losing a loved one. But unfortunately, this motivation is sometimes taken advantage of by parties that, often deliberately, spread misconceptions about recycling and waste management. Many of these misconceptions are engineered specifically to get people to act in desired ways – such as encouraging people to continue buying plastic products, despite plastic’s near-total inability to be viably recycled.

Lies About Recycling and Waste Management

These are some of the most common lies and misconceptions that people believe about recycling and waste management:

  •       All recycling needs to be sorted. First, many people still believe that all recycling needs to be sorted. While it’s true that you need to separate your recycling from the rest of your refuse, you don’t need to sort every item into different categories based on materials. In most cases, the sorting is all done at a central recycling facility.
  •       Plastic is recyclable. For the past several years, we’ve been loosely promised that all our recycled plastics would be broken down and reused in subsequent generations of plastic products. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be the case. Only certain types of plastics can be effectively recycled, and even then, they can typically only be recycled once, since plastic breaks down with each round of recycling. On top of that, plastic recycling is prohibitively expensive, rendering it economically illogical. The better course of action is to reduce your plastic consumption.
  •       Recycling will save the world. Many people recycle voluntarily, believing that it’s going to eventually solve our waste management and environmental impact problems. While it’s true that recycling is better than not recycling, it’s only a small part of the overall environmental equation. If we want to become a more sustainable society, we can’t put all our eggs into the proverbial recycling basket.
  •       Products made from recycled materials are inferior. There is some grain of truth in the idea that recycled materials aren’t always as strong as their original predecessors; it’s why plastics can usually only be recycled once. However, many products made from recycled materials are as strong, or even stronger than their proceeding counterparts.
  •       We’re much better at recycling and composting. It’s tempting to think that in the past 20 years or so, people have gotten much better with regular recycling and composting to reduce waste. This is technically true, but we haven’t made as much progress as you might think. According to the EPA, only 35 percent of the solid waste produced by Americans is recycled or composted. In other words, we still have a long way to go.
  •       Most of what you recycle is actually recycled. It feels good to take a large container of miscellaneous recycling items to the curb, but how much of what you try to recycle is actually recycled? Chances are, the bulk of your items are thrown away, and for any number of reasons, long before they’re ever recycled into new materials.

How to Improve Your Understanding of Recycling and Waste Management

Some of these realities may be surprising, or even disillusioning, but that’s all part of the learning process. The more you learn about how recycling and waste management actually work, the more responsible you’ll be able to practice waste management in your own life. 

Contact your local waste management authorities to learn more about the processes that apply to your location – and be willing to challenge your previous existing assumptions.


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