Once the truck leaves the curb, we don't see what happens to all that plastic and paper. It is not unreasonable that myths abound regarding the recycling process. Does it really get recycled? Is it all just tossed back together with the trash? Does some of it end up in landfills anyway?
Here in Fort Lauderdale we pride ourselves on partnering with our recycling haulers and processors to ensure that what you put in our recycling containers really does end up as the basis for new materials. Weekly meetings and daily contact mean we know what is happening before, during and after the trucks get curbside.
Here are a few of the most common misconceptions.
The stuff I try to recycle isn’t really recycled.
While we cannot vouch for every container you will encounter, every “clean recyclable” that you put in your City-serviced blue cart, public space and parks containers, and participating multi-family or commercial building will go to a local materials recovery facility (MRF). To see what happens from there, click here.
Products made out of recyclables are of inferior quality.
That may have been true in the past for some products (Think about those early versions recycled paper towels!), but things have really changed. Now, it is common to find products manufactured from recycled materials that are actually higher quality because of the new technology or hand-crafting that went into them.
Products made from recyclables more expensive.
Again, that is not true anymore and the differential continues to shrink. Products made from recyclables are often the same price and sometimes lower than those made of virgin materials. This is because manufacturing costs, such as those associated with water and energy and fuel, can be reduced by using recyclables, eliminating the need for those expenses to be passed along to the consumer.
There’s no point in recycling. We’re drowning in waste anyway.
It is true that we are a consumption society. In the United States, the average person discards seven and a half pounds of garbage every day. In Fort Lauderdale, we generate a large amount of residential waste. The good news is that we are recycling more each year. We also divert some of our organic waste, and utilize waste-to-energy methods of disposal. We are learning to manage our waste stream more sustainably. It is very possible for our community to meet the State of Florida goal to recycle 75% of waste by 2020.