The Best Recycling Initiatives Around the Globe
You’re probably used to seeing depressing headlines about recycling, whether it’s about recycling rates falling or recycling being dumped in poor countries where it’s affecting people’s health. But what about the good things that are being done all around the world to make recycling a way of life? Governments, businesses, and community groups all around the world are coming up with new initiatives all of the time to increase recycling and reduce waste. Here are just some that we’ve uncovered.
Cooking oil recycling in Barcelona
Authorities in Barcelona have begun handing out so-called ‘OliPots’ so residents can collect their cooking oil and prevent it from contaminating waterways and clogging up sewers. The pots contain a filter which separates the oil from any remaining food particles. Any type of oils will be accepted as part of the scheme, and the oils will be sent off to be turned into useful products like biofuel.
Recycled street furniture in Argentina
In a project commissioned by the recycling company C.Re.S.E., a designer has turned recyclable rubbish into street furniture and other outdoor installations to show people that rubbish like paper, tin, glass, PET, nylon, polystyrene, aluminium, and tetra-brick are valuable materials which can be reused and turned into other items.
C.Re.S.E. is a government-owned recycling company which collects household waste and separates, cleans, and sells it to recycling companies around the country so it can be turned into valuable items.
Recycling turned into art in Warsaw
Recycling rates in Poland aren’t that great, so an art collective called Luzinterruptus came up with a way of increasing recycling awareness among residents in Warsaw. A thousand coloured plastic bags were scattered across one of the city’s squares, and each contained a light bulb. The bags were the same colours as the colours that represent recycling - green for glass, yellow for metal, and blue for paper.
Composting in San Francisco
San Francisco leads the way in reducing waste, and it already diverts more than 72% of its waste from landfill thanks to its excellent recycling scheme. Back in 2009, the city stepped up its waste reduction efforts another notch by introducing mandatory composting, passing a law which was the first of its kind in the US. Now residents must put all their organic waste in green composting bins which are stationed all over the city.
Reverse vending machines in the US
Residents in North Carolina can take their empty bottles and cans to ‘Dream Machines’ across the state and they get points and prizes in return. The scheme was created by Pepsi, Keep America Beautiful, and waste management companies, and it’s hoped that the machines will help people to recycle when they don’t have access to a recycling bin or they are on the go. The organisers hope to eventually roll the scheme out nationwide.
The ‘waste-water’ park in Germany
The region of North Rhine-Westphalia in the west of German has one water system which draws its resources from the river, canals, rainwater, and waste water. If the idea of getting your drinking water from waste water makes your stomach churn, you might think the residents of the west German state feel the same. But a water recycling park has been created, so residents can actually watch a duplicate water treatment system so they understand that it works and it’s completely safe.