Recycling is the emergency vehicle at the bottom of the rock
A few years ago, one of my children returned home from school, worried about all the environmental issues that plague the world. She was learning about sustainability, and I wanted her to share more about it.
In her notes on global warming, poaching, deforestation, and other major challenges were two statements about polymers: “Plastic is bad for the environment. I should be recycling more.”
We’re proposing individual solutions for major issues.
On the other hand, I was delighted to watch her participate in a class about sustainability, which is a subject that teachers struggle to incorporate into a crowded curriculum.
However, I was worried that the list she provided of actions she outlined as solutions for these huge issues seemed unimportant for someone her age or even outside her area of influence (“don’t take animals for poaching,” for instance).
The majority of the studies are concerned with individual behavior change. We organized a conference for 570 people without using Plastic. Here’s how it went.
Fortunately, we live in a city in which our waste management system includes a curbside recycling program. But only certain types of Plastic (numbered 1, 2, or 5) can be recycled.
There aren’t all towns and cities in Aotearoa are equipped with this service, although there is an idea to have councils in cities that have more than 1,000 inhabitants to offer the service to urban households.
In the world, just 9 percent of the 15 percent of plastic waste that is collected to be recycled can be really recycled.
While there aren’t any publicly available figures about how much waste is reused within Aotearoa, New Zealand. We generate more than 17 million tons of waste every year, and 13 million tons of it end up in landfills.
The rate of recycling in New Zealand is also believed to be less than in other developed countries.
Aotearoa, New Zealand, produces more than 17 million tonnes of trash every year, and 13 million of them end up in landfills. Getty Images
Another significant aspect of the issue is New Zealand has limited infrastructure to recycle plastic waste, which means it ends up being exported for recycling to economically depressed countries.
In the words of advocates, Tina Ngata has pointed out that it’s an act of colonization by waste. We aren’t able to manage our waste, and so we transfer it to countries that have fewer resources to deal with it.
We must encourage youngsters to explore the ways that recycling is a complex and, at best, only a partial solution to the problem of plastic pollution.
Intentions aren’t always the same as good policies.
Lunchboxes that are litter-free are becoming popular in schools. These initiatives can increase children’s awareness of the waste that is left behind in Plastic.
However, they can be a top-down school policy instead of giving children the chance to consider the ethical and political implications that surround plastics.