We definitely need more recycling bins in public places to encourage recycling. There are also programs such as the Material Recovery Facility from Athens Services that sorts through garbage and extracts any materials which can be recycled.
Recycling all depends on materials markets. When you put an item in a recycling bin, it goes to a transfer station or MRF (Materials Recovery Facility) and is sorted; these items are then sold all over the world. If there is no market for the item, say styrofoam, then it is not recyclable and will become “trash”.
The best way to increase waste diversion is to make more things out of recycled materials rather than virgin materials, and for consumers to purchase recycled products. If demand for recyclable materials increases, the supply of recyclable materials will increase.
Check out The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard for more info.
The United States also need to have more recycling programs that offer curbside recycling pick-up. There is no one single recycling program in the US, and all the little regional programs are very fragmented. Curbside recycling serves about 50% of the US population, but so much more waste could be saved from the landfill if other recycling programs had the initiative and funding to provide curbside recycling.
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