Recycling Rant

As I work on my thesis, I find myself more and more frustrated by a lack of resources so much so that it has become increasingly clear of just how important it is that I continue on this line of work and stand up and be the voice for which I'm searching. What I'm talking about is the use of mixed-material and non-recyclable packaging, namely, foil-lined paper, BoPET (commonly know by the trademark, Mylar) and expanded polystyrene/ PS foam (aka Styrofoam) and their negative effect on the planet by contributing to landfills through their inability to be composted or recycled.

Website after website praises Mylar for its flavor-protecting, light-blocking properties and tensile strength while doomsday blogs rave to their followers on self-packaging and food storage in preparation for the end (What..). What is this?! BoPET isn't recyclable! It doesn't go anywhere! It just ends up in landfills and yet it's frighteningly everywhere. Take a peek at a snack aisle. Bag after bag of chips are sealed in it. The candy bars by the register, BoPET! Even those "healthy" crackers and nuts, open the cardboard box and behold inside a BoPET bag. It's maddening to me that I can't find a single blog or website trashing the use of this stuff. Some offer the suggestion of sending them to Terracycle so that your used waste can be upcycled into tacky tote bags, but that's about it! (Sorry Terracycle, you're doing a great thing and your goal is pure, but never will I ever  be seen in the light of day with a Kool-Aid Jammers wallet or Capri-Sun backpack. A grocery tote maybe, but to wear one of these items seems to inadvertently advertise the brand as if one actually supports these businesses.) I won't. I can't.

I'm banning Mylar from my life and you should too. From this day on (well really, from like two weeks ago on) I will no longer be purchasing items packaged in the before-mentioned materials. Goodbye to Stash Tea, who uses foil-lined paper packets to seal their tea bags. Goodbye Pringles and your foil-lined cardboard tubes. Not that I purchase snacks much anyway, but it's time to take a stand. Understand that these materials can not be separated in the recycling process into their respective materials and continuously contribute to the pollution of our Earth through landfills. I will be moving to making my own healthy snacks at home and buying loose-leaf tea or tea in paper packets exclusively. If it can't be recycled or composted don't buy it! These are the changes we have to make to help reduce waste, and in return I think we'll find that we begin eating better as a latent benefit.

If you live in northern California, you are fortunate to live near the only three BoPET recycling centers in the country. There might also be a place in Massachusetts, but other than that the material is unacceptable by 99.99% of recycling centers so be thoughtful and precycle before you buy.