Many of us concerned with the environment are conscientious about sorting our garbage. Those of us lucky enough to live in cities with curbside recycling feel pretty good that the majority of our garbage is diverted from landfill. Well, before we get too smug about it, perhaps we should take a closer look at where that waste goes after it leaves our hands. For example, did you know that pretty much all paper milk cartons in this country are plastic-lined and therefore end up in landfills? Or that 15% of the paper we ship to China for recycling doesn’t actually get recycled? This week on Sea Change Radio, Mark Murray, the Executive Director of Californians Against Waste, reveals the garbage in our global garbage systems. We discuss what consumers, manufacturers and retailers can do to improve the current system, where gains are being made, and what areas are ripe for improvement.
In 2013 California boasted a recycling rate of 85%. In 2017 that number is now 79% – that is the first time it has dipped below 80% since 2008. Why is the most populous state in the union moving in the wrong direction on this important indicator? This week on Sea Change Radio we speak with Mark Murray, executive director of Californians Against Waste, a nonprofit environmental group that was founded forty years ago to advocate for beverage container recycling in the state. He will explain this troubling trend and talk about what can be done to get California’s recycling program back on its previous trajectory.