Why Recycling Can Change the World (and Cheer Up Our Kids)

One of the biggest challenges we are facing these days is supporting our youth as they step into adulthood and become the next caretakers of this precious planet. Many of our teens are struggling with the blues and anxieties about the state of the environment and their future. Young people need our help to make sense of it, and to show them what can be done at home and out in our communities. I believe the act of recycling holds the key to solving much of what ails us here. Let me explain.

So much more can now be diverted from our landfills.

At least 80% of our garbage can be recycled, repurposed or composted. For those of us living on Vancouver Island, our Island Return It Centres take much of what isn’t picked up at our curbs. Sweet. By expanding our home recycling systems to accommodate these newer items (such as soft plastics, electronics and small appliances), we set our families up to experience some welcome good news. It feels great to see our drastically reduced garbage output.

Improving our current recycling system at home.

To level up, you’ll need to carve out some extra space, where each type of recycling can have its own receptacle. Clearly label each bin and add any helpful info. It can be useful to paste pictures (which can be taken from our Bottle Drive flyer at the Duncan depot) or tape the actual item to the bin for easy reference. Utilize your dish’s grey water for items that need rinsing first. 
Hot tip: save time at drop-off by counting your refundables ahead of time. Have a clipboard handy for updating the total as you go. We have Bag Buddies for sale at our depots, for a collection system you can reuse over and over.

Make it fun for the kids.

Engage the kids further by making the depot run an enjoyable experience. Why not have a plan for how to spend your refund? After drop off, take the gang out for ice-cream, or save it up for an outing or special item. This builds up good feelings and helps kiddos stay connected to the process. You can also donate your refund to the depot’s monthly local charity. Plan your drop off on a day you are passing by one of our 4 locations. Check out our comprehensive list of everything we take.

Why recycling matters.

For our children, positivity builds from the sense of connection and stewardship, as recycling becomes a lifestyle rather than a chore. They become participants rather than sitting on the sidelines. The whole family becomes part of the solution. Feelings of empowerment will start to replace hopelessness and resignation. Once we have our robust system at home, it becomes much easier to advocate for our friends, workplaces and institutions to follow suit. We will know what we are talking about when suggesting others step up, and can share how easy it is and offer helpful suggestions and encouragement. Rocking out our recycling turns us into environmentalists. We can do more in our communities knowing we have it covered at home.
This planet is ours to look after. Let’s start at home, share our wins, and build from there. Our young ones will thank us, and so will the planet.

Your New Beefed Up Bin List:

1. Milk and Plant Based Milk Containers
2. Glass Bottles
3. Aluminum Cans (separate out alcohol from non-alcohol)
4. Soft Plastics
5. Lightbulbs
6. Batteries
7. Electronics
8. Styrofoam (no packing peanuts)
9. Tools and Small Appliances