Oct 30, 2009

recycle processes, education

dublin photo safari 2009 may

Photos: Recycling bay on Sandymount beach, Dublin, Ireland.

I bring my plastic and glass trash to this recycling bay every once in a while. It is ~450 meters from my home, and I usually walk/bike there. I haven't seen anyone else on foot/bike there ever, there are many people coming with cars though. Suboptimal.

I believe more people / everyone would recycle, if:
1) it was more convenient (e.g. closer to their home),
2) there was more clarity on 'what goes where', and also on 'what happens to it',
3) careful and thorough waste sorting was heavily incentivized.

re 1) the more people sort ALL their trash carefully, the more recycling bays are needed, therefore the average distance to the nearest bay drops drastically.

re 2) what is CLEAN? how clean is CLEAN? what is PLASTIC? there are hundreds of materials we call plastics. what is bottles and jars ONLY? what should I do with my broken clear glass mug? ... instructions must become more clear and exhaustive. also, understanding more in depth about what will happen to the collected trash, how it will be used, etc. can help more accurate sorting, and more broad adoption of the habit.

re 3) corporate income tax bands based on the recycled percentage of all their material output? residential waste collection fees drastically (50x) higher for unsorted trash? this could create a double tension that points in 100% sorting direction. of course, better tracking of a products lifecycle is needed to measure the performance of the system, and finding the weak links, bottlenecks on it for improvement.

Any best practices in your city?

dublin photo safari 2009 may

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