Ever wonder what happens after you throw your trash "away"?
A group of interested Piedmont residents—including City Councilmembers, teachers, parents and myself—recently toured Richmond Sanitary Services to see first hand and learn more about the fate of our garbage, recycling and compost.
We've all been told to recycle our waste as much as possible rather than simply sending it to the landfill. But we learned that most of our allegedly recycled plastic (No. 3-7) actually goes to China!
That is because, our guide told us, it is cheaper to fill the empty shipping containers eagerly waiting in the port of Oakland for their return trip to China than it is to send these plastics to Sacramento! It costs $35 per bale to transport the stuff to the Pacific Northwest versus $9 per bale for it to go to the Far East.
The details concerning what happens to the plastic after it's traveled thousands of miles to China is another disheartening environmental story. ...
But the message of the Richmond Sanitary Services tour was simple: question your habits of convenience—plastic only became mainstream 30 to 40 years ago.
I ask myself as I head out for the day, am I going to want a coffee or a sip of water today? Then I better take my reusable mug or bottle. Am I going to purchase anything today? I should grab my reusable bags. Do I really need that packaged food item? Do I have to buy the single-use size?
These are just a few examples of thoughtful questions that come to mind in my daily life. I hope we all begin to push back against convenience.