Many Americans do not realize that recycling is a business with very slim margins. When they fill up their large recycling bins, that trash goes to a private recycler that sorts the materials and then attempts to sell at a profit.
In recent years, as more and more communities have introduced recycling and increased the size of recycling containers, recycling has become less profitable. Why?
The answer is simple. Americans are bad at recycling. A 2014 survey by the National Waste and Recycling Association found that nearly 10 percent of Americans admitted to throwing waste in recycling bins and 20 percent admitted to putting things in the recycling bin that they weren’t sure was even recyclable. These poor recycling habits have made it more time-consuming and labor-intensive for recycling companies to sort and clean materials.
As a consumer, you can help your local recycler by ensuring that you only put recyclable items in your bin. You can also lower your carbon footprint by using less materials. One great way to do this is to install a whole home water filtration system instead of buying and tossing away dozens of water bottles a month!