As rising temperatures bring attention to the problem of global warming, society becomes more involved in ways that the carbon footprint may be reduced. Restaurants commonly choose not to provide straws, the vegan community has grown, and local produce is becoming more readily available, for example at the Roswell Farmer’s and Artisan Market. There are, of course, still the basic approaches, such as opting to walk or bike ride over drive, as well as recycling. The term “reduce, reuse, recycle” has been prevalent in society for some time, and has been taught to young ages. But what can happen when we go about this the wrong way?
Using recycled materials lowers a need for exerted energy on extraction of new material; this in turn lowers carbon footprint. Unfortunately, the emphasis on the need to recycle has clouded people’s judgement on what to recycle. Although your Friday night pizza may have come in a cardboard box, it is tainted by grease, which will affect the recycling process. Other items become contaminated, therefore making them no longer recyclable and increasing waste. Roswell could, however, create separate bins for composting the greasy parts, perhaps even located at various pizza chains so that they are easily accessible. Cut up your pizza box and recycle non-contaminated parts while bringing contaminated parts to pizza compost bins, which could be taken to compost piles help with decomposition of organic material.
Another common misconception surrounds recycling Styrofoam. Although the bottom of the egg carton may indicate that it is recyclable, many places, Roswell included, do not have the machinery to separate Styrofoam from all other materials. Styrofoam is a type 6 plastic, making it hard to break down. It is also very porous making it easily contaminated and not easily cleaned. As a solution, it can be overall reduced or simply reused. Opt for different methods of carry-out meals or use reusable insulated cups instead of Styrofoam to keep your drinks warm. Another option, similar to that of the pizza compost box, is to have stations where Styrofoam can be returned, as many manufacturing companies accept used material and turn it into packing peanuts.
Recycling reduces carbon footprint, however it must be done properly. Educate Roswell and create options for proper recycling in order to improve the world we live in before it is too late.
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