Dear Recycle Lady,
Why must labels be removed from aluminum cat food cans, but not steel cans?
Like My Cats
Dear Like My Cats,
The reason labels are removed from aluminum cans and not steel cans is that aluminum cans and steel cans are recycled differently. Steel cans are processed with an intense high heat that takes care of the labels, whereas aluminum cans are processed at a much lower heat that doesn’t destroy the labels. Since the labels are paper, there are good reasons for removing them from both steel cans and aluminum cans. Paper labels can be recycled with magazines or, as one reader suggested, they can be collected and used to start the fire going in a grill. One word of caution, however; only paper labels should be used to start the fire and not the personalized custom plastic labels that are sometimes seen on cans or plastic bottles. Plastic is highly flammable as it is made with oil and gas, and burning it releases harmful gases and fumes into the environment. Interestingly, labels are beginning to be seen printed directly onto metal cans. These, of course, can be recycled on the cans whether they are aluminum or steel!
Dear Recycle Lady,
Last week you said reusing used black plastic flowerpots for starting next year’s plants was a great example of a circular economy. What is a circular economy?
Going in Circles
Dear Going in Circles,
A circular economy, or CE, is an economic system that encourages the reuse and regeneration of materials or products, in a sustainable, eco-friendly way. A model of production and consumption, it involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing, and recycling existing materials and products. Keeping materials, products, and services in circulation as long as possible is the goal and is attained by redesigning materials, products, and services to be less resource intensive, reducing material use, and recapturing waste as a resource for manufacturing. CE is a system where materials never become waste and nature is regenerated. According to Wikipedia, CE aims to tackle global challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss, waste, and pollution by emphasizing the design-based implementation of the three basic principles of the Circular Economy model.
Dear Recycle Lady,
I read somewhere that a group of young people won a climate lawsuit. Where did this happen?
Kudos to the Kids
Dear Kudos to the Kids,
One such lawsuit by young people occurred in the state of Montana. A group of 16 youths ages 2 to 19 argued that their rights to a healthy environment had been violated and that the state wasn’t doing enough to fight climate change. According to This Week Junior, the young people wanted to get rid of a provision in Montana law that prohibited the state from considering climate change when approving energy and mining projects involving fossil fuels like oil, gas, and coal.” Not only was this the first case led by young people, it was the first constitutional climate case in US history to go to trial, thus setting a precedent for future cases. Several other states, including Connecticut, Iowa, and Maine are considering similar constitutional climate protections.
Good News: Over 3 million miles of dental floss, a single-use plastic product that cannot be recycled or composted, is used yearly by flossers in North America. Since dental floss is non-biodegradable, it ends up in our landfills, waterways, and pollutes the environment. Next time you need new floss, please consider purchasing one of the available brands of eco-friendly floss that are compostable and/or biodegradable.
Have questions about recycling, or interesting information about recycling? Send questions or requests to firstname.lastname@example.org. Dear Recycle Lady is sponsored jointly by the Greenbrier Recycling Center and Greenworks Recycling.