Same ol’, same ol’. Week 3 looks about the same as weeks 1 and 2: 25-30 non-recyclable items, with a heavy preponderance of plastic bags, films, and caps. New this week: the plastic plates, and straws from a volunteer dinner we attended on Friday night. We’ve washed the plastic silverware and will use it for lunches at work.
One confusing item: alkaline batteries. A helpful website for recycling information is http://www.earth911.org. There, you will read:
Because batteries disposed of in municipal landfills and trash incinerators can disperse significant amounts of heavy metals and other toxic substances into the air and water, battery waste prevention and recycling strategies are essential. Because of the materials of which they are made, these batteries may or may not be considered hazardous waste in your state. Therefore, you should always check with your local government health, solid waste or recycling department before you consider their disposal.
However, when I check with my local provider, there is not much guidance about alkaline batteries. Even the Environmental Protection Agency’s website does not give consumers very clear advice on how to dispose of them:
I have heard anecdotally from a person who coordinates solid waste recycling for a nearby city that alkaline batteries are too difficult to disassemble in order to get at the recyclable components, and that by opening them up, you increase the likelihood of contamination. Therefore they should just be tossed into the trash. That’s what I’m planning to do until I hear otherwise.
Rechargeable batteries are a different story, however and should always be taken to a facility that specializes in hazardous waste.
After three weeks, we have learned that we can’t live waste-free, but we can dramatically reduce the amount of garbage we generate. As we head into Thanksgiving week, I imagine it will be the toughest week during No Waste November! Stay tuned….
Gardening Eden: How Creation Care Will Change Your Faith, Your Life and Our World, by Michael Abbaté, published by WaterBrook Press, a division of Random House, 2009. ISBN 978-0-30744-499-8. For more info: http://www.michaelabbate.com