Let's get real about recycling
Keep Carbondale Beautiful recently hosted an evening of presentations on ways to reduce waste. Executive Director Sarah Heyer wanted listeners to "get real about recycling" - noting that food and paper are the obvious items that do not belong in a landfill. She called for more backyard compost piles and the need to increase participation in paper recycling. Cardboard belongs in a green bin, not the trash can; call 457-3275 to get a green bin (if the City picks up your trash).
Another area for growth is refillable glass bottles, currently available for milk and, at some breweries, beer. Since only plastic bottles can be recycled in Carbondale, people should explore alternatives to plastics.
Karen Schauwecker talked about SIU's sustainability efforts, including the promotion of recycling among tailgaters at football games.
David Gibson described how his family is able to get close to zero waste by sending to TerraCycle (terracycle.com) many items that others send to the landfill. Recycling most items does cost more than the landfill, but a smart user can take advantage of their free recycling programs.
Andy Lamont is devoted to supplying the Benton area with the option of recycling. He collects items behind the Save-a-Lot and transports them to companies in the St. Louis and Quincy areas. He is determined to maximize the potential for recycling all kinds of materials.
Christina Krost introduced Faith In Place's Waste Toolkit, which is aimed at religious organizations trying to be good stewards. That toolkit can be downloaded from https://www.faithinplace.org/our-programs/waste.
Audience members also offered ideas for sustainable consumption. A summary of suggestions would include the following: reject excess packaging and bottled water, re-use plastic and glass containers, write on both sides of paper, buy in bulk, buy produce at markets without packaging, cook at home, and make your own yogurt.
With the holidays coming up, there are many opportunities to choose sustainable alternatives: shop local; consider using old maps or the comics page instead of wrapping paper, and buy clothing made from natural fibers (to avoid the problem of micro-plastics being washed away in laundry water).
Look more sustainable holiday tips at keepcb.org.