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Need to Know

New Initiative Highlights “Simple” Recycling Solutions

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The Better At The Bin initiative aims to encourage and inspire everyone to be better recyclers and smarter consumers.

On October 24, San Francisco launched Better At The Bin (BATB), a new initiative to encourage and inspire everyone to be better recyclers and smarter consumers.

Key components of the initiative include:

  • Students teaching adults to recycle and compost and to refuse single-use plastics
  • A one-of-a-kind recycling truck that visits schools
  • New content for educators and recycling advocates
  • New videos
  • Digital media campaigns
  • Trash Facts and simple solutions

Recology is working closely with the city of San Francisco and has invited elementary students to talk about solutions with artist Sirron Norris, who created a unique mural to help launch Better At The Bin.

BATB facts and solutions will be made available to educators, school groups touring San Francisco recycling facilities, zero waste advocates who help staff recycling and composting stations at events and the general public. The Better At The Bin recycling truck will travel to schools in San Francisco to help advance discussions about the global trash crisis and highlight simple solutions.

In concert with the launch of the BATB Initiative, Recology is installing new optical sorting machines at Recycle Central, the 200,000-square-foot recycling plant on San Francisco’s Pier 96. Recology has invested $14 million in system improvements in the recycling plant in three years.

Here are three simple things to do to become a better recycler:

  1. Empty soda cans and bottles of all liquids. Doing so helps keep paper in recycling bins drier so more paper can be recycled. Higher-quality paper bales generate revenue that helps pay for curbside collection programs.
  2. Empty food containers before recycling them. Doing so keeps food out of your recycling bin. When recycling is cleaner, more materials can be recycled.
  3. Compost all food scraps. Compost items like coffee grounds, banana peels, vegetable cuttings and even chicken bones. Composting keeps materials out of landfills and returns nutrients to local farms. Compost feeds the soil. Farmers even use compost to grow cover crops that pull carbon out of the air and return it to the soil where it belongs.

In addition, BATB offered four simple things to do to make less trash:

  1. Carry a metal water bottle. Doing so can save each person more than $200 a year.
  2. Carry a (metal) travel mug. There is no need for single-use coffee cups, and coffee shops often offer discounts to people who bring their own travel mug.
  3. Carry canvas tote bags when shopping. No plastic bag required, and stores give discounts to people who bring their own bag.
  4. Refuse plastics. Refuse plastic bags, plastic straws and other single-use plastics whenever possible.
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