Recycling… Time to Back Off or Double Down

Recycling in California has seen a major decrease when the need for environmental consciousness is needed more than ever.

Recycling in California has seen a major decrease when the need for environmental consciousness is needed more than ever.

With the battle of climate change nearing a critical point within the next few years, environmentally conscious measures and efforts, like recycling, have never been more important. Recycling is an essential facet of a sustainable society by not only conserving limited resources, but limiting pollution by reducing the amount of plastics that are produced and eventually go to landfills every year.

California has long touted itself to be on the forefront of environmental reform. The state is responsible for some of the strongest environmental laws ever passed. Some of these groundbreaking policies include a law directing industries to reduce all greenhouse by 25% back in 2006, a law in 2002 requiring automakers to reduce emissions by 30%, and the first national policy to ban baby products containing Bisphenol A (BPA).

However, recycling efforts in the Golden State have taken a major step back. The state that once prided itself on being a pioneer in environmental reform is struggling to maintain one of the pillars of the fight against climate change, recycling. The state’s largest recycling center business, RePlanet, has closed nearly 191 of its recycling facilities. This news is troubling considering that RePlanet was responsible for nearly 16% of all can and aluminum recycling in the state.

Along with RePlanet, the state has seen a 40% decrease in the number of recycling facilities across the state. Experts believe that the cause of this drastic change is due to the depressed price of recycle materials and increasing operating costs. I believe that the closure of these recycling facilities is quite disheartening, especially because California prides itself on its progressive environmental and social policies. How can a state be leading the way for environmental reform when it can’t even manage to maintain a recycling program?

With recycling no longer economically viable in regions of the United States, home-grown initiatives like Ray’cycle are becoming more and more important to fill this need. While our program may not be able to fill the entire need of a state’s recycling requirement, it can serve as a model for other institutions to take ownership over the fight against climate change.

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