Since being introduced to the market, single-use beverage containers have caused much debate – both in the beverage industry and among politicians and the public. A simple question sits at the center of the arguing: What’s the most efficient way to collect beverage containers for high-quality recycling?
Ideally, a product should find its way into the recycling stream only when it has truly reached its end-of-life. This is why reuse matters so much: Reuse gives a second life to the products we use every day by finding effective and creative ways to utilize, repurpose and distribute them.
Over the past five years or so, leading solid waste and recycling organizations, communities and businesses across the country have increasingly embraced zero waste. Zero waste policies and programs establish practical ways to eliminate waste and safely reuse, recycle or compost discarded products and packaging. However, there has been confusion in the marketplace due to the many definitions of “zero” that are being used.
For those of us working in the recycling industry, improving quality has become a priority. The question is: How do we clean up the recycling stream and do it cost-effectively and quickly?
In a time of diminishing natural resources and increasing demand for goods, an economy based on repair, reuse and recycling makes sense from both an environmental and economic perspective. Recovery and reuse are much preferable to wanton consumption and subsequent disposal.