TIT wants you to KNOW UR GARBAGE!!!
BIODEGRADABLE: Biodegradable packaging is designed to break down in a landfill, without oxygen. To qualify, the product must completely break into natural elements within a year of disposal. There are drawbacks. Matter that breaks down in an anaerobic environment releases methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Some landfills convert the methane into energy, or the gas is released into the atmosphere—wheeee!
COMPOSTABLE: Organic matter, some paper, and packaging marked “compostable.” In a compost heap, matter breaks into natural elements and releases nutrients back into the earth. Compostable packaging will decompose in municipal composting situations, but not necessarily in your backyard.
PLASTIC: Not all plastic is recyclable. Plastic film, plastic shopping bags, styrofoam—they’re designed for the landfill. Recyclable plastic is marked with a triangle-shaped emblem containing a number. The number classifies the type of plastic. Some plastics are harder to recycle than others. Your local plant may process PET, marked “1,” but be unable to process polystyrene, marked “6.” Plastic is always downcycled into a less stable form. Bottles may be turned into plastic fiber, but they will not turn into new bottles. Plastic can be recycled up to 6 times before going to the landfill. All plastic will eventually end up in landfills, oceans, animal stomachs, and other places.
GLASS & METAL: Can be recycled an infinite number of times. Glass placed in curbside recycling bins may shatter in transit. The shards are often ground down and sprinkled over landfills. Metal food and drink cans are coated with a plastic epoxy.
PAPER: Not all paper is created equal. This newspaper can be composted or recycled. Paper coffee cups are coated in a thin layer of plastic which makes them difficult to recycle. Companies like Starbucks offer coffee cup recycling in their hideous stores.
OTHER: Many items—glasses, shoes, clothing, rags—can be recycled at Goodwill. Electronics, appliances, paint, and toxic materials require special curbside collection—google your town’s municipal pickup rules for more info.
Everything is bad and you should feel bad? Not so! To stop making senseless infinity trash, visit melaniebernier.com/zerowaste