I can recycle THAT?
Earth Day. This month we will be reminded, constantly, about our environmental impact. You might not need a reminder, but I find that it is easy and sometimes tempting to ignore the consequences of my daily trash on Mother Earth.
While the best practice is to be mindful of how our all of our purchases are made, transported and packaged…we are all so busy that it can feel overwhelming to reduce, reuse, recycle if we don’t know which items placed into that blue bin will stay in the recycle stream.
This year for Earth Day, the Design Perspective team looked for items that we were not sure we could recycle, or were smaller and seemed easier to toss into the trash. There are many items that are not allowed in our city recycle bins but might be recyclable elsewhere. Here are a few for your consideration:
Don’t blow your cork. Save those corks and drop them off when you are looking for your next vintage. We were surprised how many retailers participate with ReCORK’s recycling efforts. ReCORK partners with manufacturers creating footwear and other products from your wine stoppers. One more reason besides resveratrol to enjoy your glass of red wine tonight.
Check out http://recork.org and http://100percentcork.org. Find a cork collection partner: http://recork.org/us/locations.
For that garden composter, check out cork composting instructions at http://compostbin.org.
Get a leg up on pollution by saving and recycling your nylons and tights. Nylon takes 30-40 years to biodegrade in a landfill. Turn your old nylon into something new. http://www.nononsense.com/pantyhose-recycling.htm. Patagonia has long-standing reuse and recycle programs for old Patagonia clothing. http://www.patagonia.com/us/reuse-recycle.
Don’t kiss that foil goodbye. Many cities take foil in their recycling stream. Familiarize yourself with your city’s recycling rules and recycle foil pieces—small or large—when possible.
Think outside the pizza box. That delicious and sometimes greasy pizza is a happy reward after a long day. Cut off those food stains before dropping into the blue bin.
As designers, we have the opportunity to help clients evaluate their best opportunities and methods of engaging their audience while keeping a product’s life cycle in mind. Will a visual email entice a connection? Does the audience and event require motion through video? Will the tactile feel of a letterpress invitation express the warmth of the sender? Or is having a publication that can easily be read in bed, used as a coaster and shared with a friend at the beach going to allow the content to be fully consumed?
Every day we see more inventive and sustainable uses of message and materials. And every day we will work to help Mother Earth breathe a little better. For Earth Day, we are planting roots for tomorrow through The Nature Conservancy, Plant a Billion Trees Fund. The fund is currently working to restore forests in Brazil, China and the US. http://www.plantabillion.org.
Every day is earth day. Let’s make it a good one.
Design Perspective is a strategic design firm whose client base supports education, health + science, technology, sustainability and the arts—all areas that work together to empower communities, and in turn, better connect our world.