I am a “do-gooder” and I thought pretty much everything except ruined by food was trash and everything else was recyclable. I have always preferred to recycle whether it was through trash or share with someone else. I donate my clothes, household items, electronics, bedding, toys, and even magazines to people. I felt like the recycling angel… until I watched a documentary about how much plastic is actually being used. My mind was blown about how much plastic waste is out in the world and unable to recycle.

China was the worlds dumping site until they realized they were polluting themselves in 2017. Now it is taken to whoever will take it. There are not too many places raising their hands for our trash so much is burned or dumped creating more pollution. Think about the food chain. Trash gets dumped into the water, small fish eat the trash, bigger fish eat the small fish and we eat the big fish. It looks like a recycling chain, but is it? At the expense of our health and the lives of marine water?

With all of this eye-opening news, I decided to call my local recycling center. I first came up with a list I would regularly recycle. I went through each item with them to determine if it is recyclable. To my surprise about half of what I was putting out there was not recyclable! What this means is any of the excesses has now no place to go. It is not part of the “trash” so it has not become properly disposed of. It is circulating with the recyclables until they realize it is not part of the program. This is the excess I am speaking about. Simply things like salad bags, Ziplocs, thick paper plates, newspaper baggies, strawberry containers, large salad containers, frozen blueberry bags, and chip bags. The United States flattens and wraps all of what we recycle to send on ships to whatever country is going through it to recycle. Once it hits that country, the workers sift through and take out the excess. What they do with the excess is the question. Some dump and some burn it. Either way, it has an impact.

Imagine a world where there is no trash or recycling pick up? If we were responsible to dispose of our waste in our own yards. What would you do? What would you throw out? I think I need to rethink more than just giving up plastic straws!