Of all the challenges humans face today, one of our most daunting is the eternal buildup of sold waste from our “disposable society.” This problem is relatively new when compared to the rest of our short history on this globe. Yet it has taken only a few short years to accumulate enough garbage to create a Manhattan sized island in the Pacific, litter the highways and streets of America with styrofoam cups and plastic bags and pollute much of our precious, rare fresh water supply. Yet hope is not lost. Humanity is waking up to this problem and finally finding ever more ingenious ways to reuse what we used to throw away. These six recycling initiatives are finding creative ways to live in harmony with nature once again.
MGM’S GREEN ADVANTAGE
Most companies are now taking steps to divert commonly recyclable products, such as paper and aluminum cans from land fills. MGM Resorts however, his taking this process a few steps further. They are finding ways to recycle everything from food waste to used playing cards and are now diverting a whopping 43.7% of their solid waste to the recycling chain instead of the local dumps.
TERRACYCLE’S CIGARETTE WASTE BRIGADE
Cigarette butts are one of the most commonly discarded nuisances in the United States, but with the help of Terracycle and Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company, smokers can now cut down on this unsightly trash at offices, restaurants, and even at home. Terracycle accepts everything from extinguished cigarettes to cellophane package linings and turns them into a variety of industrial products.
SWEDEN RAN OUT OF TRASH!
Thanks to Sweden’s unique method for disposing of solid waste, they have turned trash disposal into a dual-duty bonus. Sweden burns all of its trash for heat and electricity and has become so efficient at this process that it recently ran out of trash to burn. This is no problem however, as Norway is more than happy to pay Sweden to take their trash as well.
TOYOTA’S SUSTAINABILITY MOVEMENT
Toyota is working on a more environmentally friendly approach to auto manufacturing that takes into consideration “the entire life cycle of a vehicle.” This major car manufacturer is developing materials that are easier to dismantle and recycle while reducing the waste in generates in the first place. It’s easy to see that the makers of the very popular Prius are putting their money where their mouth is when it comes to a greener society.
Junk mail is more than a hassle. According to 41pounds.org, Americans receive more than 41 pounds worth of junk mail a year, most of which makes its way to the landfill. For a mere $41 fee, this organization will help eliminate junk mail for a full five years by removing your household from all of those useless, pesky mailing lists. Conserve 1.7 trees and 700 gallons of water while simplifying your life and protecting yourself from identity theft. As a bonus, 41pounds.org donates 1/3 of this fee to Earth Share, to help other exciting recycling initiatives as well.
CALIFORNIA’S 75 PERCENT INITIATIVE
It seems that the Golden State has set a very lofty environmental goal. Governor Brown, along with the state legislature are set to lead the way toward a greener America with a “75 percent recycling, composting or source reduction of solid waste by 2020.” Of course, CalRecycle is still working on the logistics of this goal, but when there is a will there is a way. Perhaps the Golden State could take a few lessons from Sweden. With the right tactics, they might be able to solve their budget crisis as well.