Guest Post by Jennifer McMahon
According to government statistics, only 32.1% of the trash that we create is recycled. It is important not just for your local community, but for the planet to get these figures higher. A large proportion of the things that are thrown out every day can be recycled, reused and composted, helping to drive sustainability forward. Recycling and responsibly disposing of garbage isn’t just the moral obligation of individuals, it’s a great way in which a community can come together. You can organize a local litter pick, start a recycling plan for empty chip packets, set up a local composting bin or organize a “garbage watch” to help your neighbors. Help make your community a cleaner place to live with these easy-to-implement ideas below.
1. “Garbage Watch”: Many towns and cities in America operate a Neighborhood Watch plan, keeping a lookout for suspicious activity in the local area. A Garbage Watch plan is all about looking out for your neighbors who might be struggling with their trash. It may be that you have elderly neighbors who find it difficult to get their trash out to the curb every week. Perhaps you know someone living with a disability that needs help sorting their recycling. Having independence and home security is important when you are disabled, and small changes can help. You can install a home security system and a video doorbell for extra safety, and it also helps having a helpful neighbor keep an eye out.
2. A community litter pick: Every day the average American generates 4.9lbs of garbage, and sadly, not all of it ends up in the municipal waste system. There is still an ongoing problem with people dropping trash on the streets, or even throwing it out of their car windows. Having a community little pick is a way of helping not only to deal with the problem, but also to highlight the issues to the younger generations. It’s also a good way to get to know the people in your community, while working together towards a shared goal.
3. Start a local composting plan: For the keen gardener or allotment-owner, having a good source of compost is invaluable. Making compost is easy, you only need three things – brown materials, like twigs and dead leaves, green materials, like grass clippings, and water. To your compost pile can also be added a lot of the food waste that comes from your kitchen, including eggshells, teabags, fruits, vegetables, nutshells and coffee grounds. You can also add ashes from the fire, hair and even pet fur. Over time the materials that you add to your compost bin or pile will break down. It takes as little as three months to make compost.
Helping to drive up recycling rates and improving sustainability is something that can be done as a community. You can work together, meet new people and really get to know your neighbors. Start 2022 off on the right foot and go green!