Dear Recycle Lady,
What is upcycling? Is it the same as recycling?
Dear Something New,
Upcycling is a special kind of recycling. When an item is upcycled, it is recycled, or reused, into a product that has a higher value than the value of the original item or it is used to create something entirely new. Most recycling is downcycling or making a lower-grade version of the same product. An example of upcycling is making new shoes from plastic bottles, while an example of downcycling is making lower-quality plastic bottles from those same bottles. Upcycling supports a circular economy in which goods are used and reused many times instead of getting thrown out after one use. A circular economy is more sustainable as it uses what we have instead of creating new products out of new materials. It also reduces landfill waste and minimizes carbon emissions.
Dear Recycle Lady,
I went to the Recycling Center last week to deposit my recyclables and, much to my surprise, the bin for aluminum foil and pans was covered over with cardboard. I thought aluminum foil was one of the recyclables that could be recycled over and over again without losing quality. Why isn’t the Recycling Center accepting foil and pans anymore?
Dear Distressed Recycler,
The main reason the Recycling Center is not accepting aluminum foil and pans is that we don’t have a buyer. In order to have available enough foil and pans for a buyer to consider purchasing them, the Recycling Center must collect an extremely large amount of clean, dry aluminum foil and pans. Over time, donated foil and pans would need to be kept in storage until that amount was collected and unfortunately, that amount of storage space is not available. A secondary problem is that all foil and pans placed in the bin are not clean and dry. Foil with only a few bits of food or grease contaminates clean foil and pans and makes them unusable. Have you considered reusing your foil? Just wash it in hot soapy water, rinse, dry and smooth it out. Your piece of foil will be almost as good as new. Foil is also a good scissor sharpener. Fold up a piece of aluminum foil four or five times, depending on the strength of the foil, then cut through the folds several times. Your dull scissors will be as sharp as you want them to be. Another use of foil is to hang a few strips of aluminum foil in the branches of your fruit trees to help keep birds away from the fruit on the trees. Plus, balled-up aluminum foil is a good way to remove the gunk left after grilling those delicious steaks!
Dear Recycle Lady,
What are fair trade products?
Fair is Good
Dear Fair is Good,
Fair Trade products are products that are sustainably and ethically produced by workers who are paid a fair wage. According to fairtradeamerica.org, the Fair Trade Seal is the most recognized and trusted ethical label in the world. Fair Trade coffee is one of the most recognized products and is available locally. Other Fair Trade products include tea, sugar, clothing, chocolate, wine, decorations and beauty products. Readers, if you know where any of these items can be purchased locally, please let me know.
Good News: African white rhinos are on the rebound. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the white rhino population has rebounded for the first time in a decade, a significant milestone in the ongoing battle to protect these majestic creatures. Thanks to intensified protection and management, there is newfound hope for their survival.
Have questions about recycling, or interesting information about recycling? Send questions or requests to email@example.com. Dear Recycle Lady is sponsored jointly by the Greenbrier Recycling Center and Greenworks Recycling.