These outfits are a stylish “Glamour Do” for your wardrobe
but a big “Glamour Don’t” when it comes to your recycling bin! The average Materials Recovery Facility (MRF)
receives enough articles of clothing to make your local Good Will green with
envy! It’s understandable, when your
closet starts to fill, you want to get rid of the old to make room for the
new. And we’d much rather you remember
the three R’s of a healthy environment-reduce, reuse and
recycle- then to dispose of these items into a garbage can. However, when it comes to last year’s trends,
it is better for the environment to find ways to reuse those bell bottom jeans
and mullet skirts rather than throw them into the recycling container.
Here’s what happens. MRFs
are high operating recycling facilities with intricate technology that allows
for the sorting of single-stream recyclable materials. This means recycling is easy for you! You can throw it all into one bin and these
facilities will do the separating for you.
Awesome! But when clothing enters
the recycling stream it prevents the machinery from functioning properly. Each stream contains rollers that have rubber
or metal Stars. These Stars have precise
spacing between them that is vital to the sorting process, as well as is their
shape. Clothing wraps around the Stars
and messes with this intricate spacing and shape. This prevents the necessary items from
falling through and changes the Stars’ structure so it can no longer accurately
preform its task of pushing the correct items up the stream. An unnoticed piece of clothing could actually
cause a fire!
Here are some environmental and MRF friendly tips for reusing those items getting rejected
from their comfy place on the closet shelf (or probably more accurate a heap in
the middle of the bedroom floor!):
Give them away!
What is out of style for you is a gold mine for someone else. Ask your friends, family and neighbors to
grab what they want. We all have that
aunt, nephew or buddy that clearly doesn’t know what year it is by their
fashion style. Or that younger sibling
that just wants what is yours!
Although they aren’t as likely to catch fire, plastic bags
hinder the recycling process in the same way as your old socks and
t-shirts. There is actually no need to even
put your recyclables into a bag first.
Just throw them straight into the can!
Bring plastic bags back to your grocery store or take them to public
drop-off centers, such as TotalRecycle in Birdsboro, Pa. Or just reduce
your use altogether and bring your own bags when out shopping.
Sheets may keep you warm at night but,
remember, recycling facilities like the chill.
They may as well be clothing when it comes to your local MRF. Old sheets make great beach blankets and act
as excellent “roofs” for your kids’ forts.
Or your own forts. Admit it, we all need our alone time once in a while.
Also, a floor after a child eats typically resembles a landfill. Sheets work wonders under high chairs as
a much cheaper version of a splat mat.
Propane Tanks and Chains
Additional no-no items that incorrectly end up at recycling
facilities are propane tanks and chains.
Chains get so hot on a Star that you could fry an egg. Not recommended for breakfast! Propane tanks that get compacted in the
bailer could cause an explosion. Why not
help the environment and collect some cash at the same time? Return them to your place of purchase and you
will get your money back. Or take them to
a scrap yard and they will pay you for it.
No matter what route you take, always make sure they are EMPTY first!
So stick with the trends.
We all know supporting the environment is the cool thing to do. Following these simple steps will keep you
fashionable for years to come.