Here’s the honest truth – our recycling systems (aka Materials Recovery Facilities) – which are built to last 10 to 20 years and cost millions in engineering and equipment – simply can’t adapt quickly enough to handle the ever-changing stream of consumer packaging and products. Then there’s stuff that’s just plain dangerous, like rechargeable batteries from phones which hold heat and a charge and cause fires at recycling facilities. Finally, if the material doesn’t have a viable market – meaning no one wants to use it to make a new product – it’s not recyclable. In Massachusetts, materials must meet three criteria to be recycled in your home recycling bin.
1. The material should not harm the workers or equipment.
2. The recycling equipment must be designed to sort and process the material.
3. There must be a consistent market (a buyer) for the material.
What can you do in the meantime? Let’s recycle everything that we can! Avoid the temptation to “wish cycle” by following the Smart Recycling Guide. And make your voice heard by contacting your favorite brands to tell them you want recyclable packaging only!