Summer is a time for sports, concerts, festivals, or just getting out and spending some time outdoors at local campsites and parks. Whether you’re planning on being out for the afternoon, the weekend or longer, your obligation to the environment doesn’t change.
Many event venues, festivals and tours are jumping on the sustainable bandwagon and creating more holistic, sustainable experiences to lessen the impact of these events on the planet. Organizations like A Greener Festival and Reverb are partnering with artists and festivals to help with this effort, while others like the X Games have programs like Get Caught Recycling awards attendees who properly recycled their waste.
To help Americans enjoy themselves this summer without creating an adverse impact on the environment, Plastics Make it Possible has compiled a list of tips to help them properly dispose of their recyclables:
- Leave no trace: Implement the old Boy Scout adage, “leave no trace.” Only bring what you can properly recycle, or plan packing out recyclables to take home to your curbside bins.
- Do the leg work: Do some research on the venue or event beforehand to see what they will accept for recycling, especially if you’re planning on bringing your own food and beverages.
- Recycle smart: Before tossing bottles in the recycle bin, make sure they are rinsed and that caps are removed. Unless the bins specifically ask for them, bottle caps should be placed in the garbage, not the recycle bin. If the venue offers plastic bottle recycling, keep in mind that for recycling purposes, a bottle is any container with a neck or an opening that’s smaller than its base. Include the following wherever plastic bottles are recycled:
- Milk jugs
- Beverage bottles (e.g., water, soft drinks, juice and beer)
- Bottles from shampoo, toiletries, laundry detergent and other household cleaners
- Salad dressing, cooking oil and condiment bottles
- Food jars, such as peanut butter and mayonnaise
- Bag it: Bring several plastic shopping bags with you to pack out wet or dirty clothing, recyclables and other waste, or whatever else you need to separate from the rest of the items in your backpack or bag. While bags may not be recyclable at your destination, rinse and recycled them at your local grocery store upon your return. All clean bags labeled #2 (HDPE) or #4 (LLDPE) are recyclable, including:
- Grocery bags
- Retail bags (remove hard plastic or string handles)
- Plastic newspaper bags
- Dry cleaning bags (remove paper and hangers)
- Bread bags (with crumbs shaken out)
- You can also include plastic wraps from products such as paper towels, bathroom paper, napkins and diapers wherever plastic bags are collected for recycling
- When in doubt, leave it out: Recycling at events will likely not be as robust as your normal curbside recycling, so if you’re unsure if something is recyclable, it’s best to leave it out. Mixing the wrong types of materials (even other plastics) can lower the quality of the recycled material.
- Bridge the gap: Shop for sustainable items made out of recycled plastic to help close the loop. Bridge the second generation gap. Bottles are used to make hundreds of everyday items, ranging from fleece jackets and carpeting to detergent bottles and lumber for outdoor decking.
From Plastics Make It Possible