General Question

tinyfaery's avatar

What's it going to take for people to start recycling?

Asked by tinyfaery (43773points) July 10th, 2008

I understand its going to take a lot more than recycling to heal the earth, but I would say its an integral part of the process. LA County has a very convenient recycling program, and CA has a very generous redemption policy, but so many people cannot manage to put the paper or plastic in the blue bin instead of the black one. I live in a gated community where we only have trash service, and I go out of my way to collect all recyclables and transport them to the blue bins of my friends and family. When I switched jobs early this year, I started a recycling program. But here we are, 6 months later, and I still dig through the trash to pull out recyclables. What’s it going take?

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13 Answers

nikipedia's avatar

It would be helpful for people to be able to see the consequences of their actions immediately.

xxporkxsodaxx's avatar

I don’t think the world as a whole will ever recycle, it’ll just be smaller groups of wonderful people doing wonderful things.

susanc's avatar

Where there are enough poor people, recycling becomes an industry. Maybe that’s what it takes.

marinelife's avatar

People are lazy. People like to think that if the other people recycle, they don’t have to. People think, “Yuck, I don’t want to touch garbage.”

Education programs work. They increase participation.

To make participation higher still, it would require significant financial penalties for people who do not recycle. To increase participation close to 100%, probably laws requiring it.

tinyfaery's avatar

@marina I always say most people won’t change until it hits where it hurts. Unfortunately, this usually doesn’t occur until it hits one’s bank account. as I tilt my head down, and sigh

jrpowell's avatar

Have you seen the work of Chris Jordan. Some frightening pictures of how much we consume.

That is a hacked together URL. But it should work.

edit :: This one is my favorite.

KimberlyLD's avatar

I think you have to make it convenient, rewarding and “easy.” Of my scattered across the country family, I’m the vehement recycler. But, gifts of cloth-fold-up shopping bags tucked in with birthday and christmas gifts have gotten most of the women in my family to use them 75% of the time compared with two years ago.

The men won’t carry cloth bags, but will ask for no bag as they are inspired to not come home with plastic. Every time someone tells me they forgot and had to get a plastic bag, I ask “did you recycle or reuse it? ” and one or the other does happen. Lots of incentive and easy, easy, easy….

Here in Portland the city provides a lot of incentive, (Non-sort large recycling rolling bins, subsidized compost machines, yard debris pick up, paint recycling etc.) but I think within our own families no matter how stretched out, if you encourage the baby steps, suddenly they’ve moved on from cloth bags to CFLs and composting…

However, just like every step in education, it takes constant encouragement and one step at a time. And if every one of us works to get our families on board, how many people does that total up to?

marinelife's avatar

My hope is our children. The young children that I talk to seem very environmentally aware and concerned.

blastfamy's avatar

Trash companies could start weighing trash collected by the pound. The more people recycle, the less they throw away!

arnbev959's avatar

side question: is there a law that says public schools in new jersey must recycle? my school doesn’t. it’s annoying.

simon's avatar

I bet if people needed to be present at trash pickup and their garbage was audited/checked and they were fined for not recycling items found in the trash…then maybe it’d be better. It always comes down to money.

ninechars's avatar

You know, people are recycling. A lot of people. I think there are more gains to be made in the other two R’s. Remember, from most important to least important, it’s Reduce, Re-use, then Recycle.

Incorporating economic incentives into the price of products to reflect their environmental impact (that is, internalizing the negative externality in the market) is the only way to make real gains, IMO.

deaddolly's avatar

For me to recycle even more, would mean a better city-wide collection program. Now they come once a month…my cart is usually overflowing by then.

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