Thinking about waste before we get to the bin

What three words come to mind when you see the classic green triangle composed of three arrows? For most, our thoughts go to the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. However, the three arrows that make up this triangle actually represent the critical steps that are necessary for a successful recycling industry: Collecting, Processing, and Buying

Most people are familiar with their role in the collection process when they toss an item in a recycling bin, but less attention is given to those other two important parts of the loop. A product that is placed in a recycling bin will be processed and sent to a facility where it is manufactured into another product that ends up on our store shelves.This cycle keeps the recycling industry alive, and economically prosperous, by allowing companies to continue recycling and manufacturing goods because consumers are buying them.

This cycle can be broken without the consumer demand for products made with recycled materials. For Lincoln residents, we have plenty of opportunities to participate in the Collection part of the cycle through free drop off sites or curbside services. It’s important to note that our residents and businesses also have the opportunity to support this cycle again as a consumer of recycled products, and Lincoln Public Schools is no exception. For example, LPS purchased 18,112 Office Depot items made with recycled content worth over $78,900 last school year. That is an investment into supplies for our schools AND the recycling industry. 

If you want to start buying recycled products, just check the labels on items to see if they are made from recycled content. Next time you throw something into the recycling bin, remember to close the loop!