The Covid-19 pandemic affected countless aspects of our lives. From work to school to grocery shopping and more, we had to adjust how we lived our lives. We had to do things differently. Recycling efforts were no exception. Keep reading to find out just how the pandemic affected the efforts of a few recycling enthusiasts.
Michael Miller

Michael Miller

Director of Zero Waste Group.

Logistical Challenges And More

As a waste management company that transports waste to be recycled, we experienced several challenges during the pandemic that affected our ability to recycle waste. One of the main issues we faced was the closure of many recycling sites and facilities, which made it difficult to transport certain types of waste and manage logistics effectively.

We found that many recycling centres and waste disposal sites were closed due to the pandemic, which made it difficult to find suitable locations to deposit certain types of waste. This not only caused logistical challenges for us but also affected our ability to recycle certain materials.

In addition to closures, the pandemic also created challenges with waste processing. The slowdown in economic activity and disruptions to supply chains meant less demand for recycled materials, which in turn led to a reduction in the number of operational recycling centres and facilities.

Despite these challenges, we have remained committed to our mission of promoting sustainable waste management practices and protecting the environment. We have continued to work closely with our customers to identify alternative waste disposal options and find innovative solutions to ensure that as much waste as possible is recycled.

In conclusion, the pandemic has had a significant impact on the waste management and recycling industry and has presented a number of challenges for companies like ours. Despite these challenges, we remain committed to promoting sustainable waste management practices and working towards a greener future.

Mixed Impact

The pandemic had a mixed impact on recycling enthusiasts. On the one hand, the increase in single-use items like masks and packaging created more waste and recycling challenges. Limited access to recycling facilities and disrupted collection services added to the difficulties. However, the pandemic also increased sustainability awareness and inspired innovative solutions.

The rise in single-use items posed a challenge as they often contained materials that were not easily recyclable. This led to more waste generation and a strain on recycling efforts. Additionally, lockdowns and social distancing measures disrupted recycling programs and reduced access to facilities, forcing some enthusiasts to store recyclables or dispose of them improperly.

Despite these challenges, the pandemic prompted individuals to rethink their consumption habits and embrace sustainability. Recycling enthusiasts took the opportunity to educate others, sharing tips for recycling at home and promoting reusable items. DIY recycling projects and upcycling became popular as people sought creative ways to reduce their household waste.

Abhay Gupta

Abhay Gupta

From Justeco.
Ashley Schuering

Ashley Schuering

Collected Recycling And Started Using Reusable Items

While my husband and I have always done at least the minimum curbside recycling, we have seriously dialed in our overall recycling habits since the pandemic hit.

In Nashville, we can only recycle paper/cardboard, plastics #1&2, and aluminum cans via the curbside program. It used to only get picked up once a month, but now it gets picked up every two weeks. As a result of that infrequency, we ordered extra recycling bins from the city.

Since the pandemic began, we also started collecting plastic bags, bubble wrap, etc. [in one bin], styrofoam packaging and takeout containers [in another], and glass in [another] separate bin. The plastics and styrofoam get dropped off at Publix, whereas the glass recycling gets taken to a recycling facility a few miles from our house.

During the pandemic, we also figured out how to start composting. We started with a plain garbage can with an attached lid that we drilled holes in the bottom of and propped up on cinder blocks for drainage. We now have the original garbage can, a large storage bin with a lid, and a spinning compost container that we got from Amazon for about $65.

Since we started implementing all of these practices, we typically only change out our kitchen garbage bag one to two times per month and only need to drag the garbage up to the street on days they do recycling pickup. In fact, we often change the garbage bag before it’s anywhere near full, only because it starts to stink even in our lidded garbage can.

Aside from that, I’ve also since implemented reusable flannel paper towels, reusable flannel cotton rounds, a reusable makeup eraser cloth, period panties, and reusable zip-top bags, as well as installed a bidet to cut down on TP usage.

All of these new products came into our life as a result of trying to find workarounds to the supply chain shortages we experienced at the beginning of the pandemic and are now part of our normal day-to-day operations. Not only are we happier living a greener lifestyle, but we’ve also significantly cut back on household expenses by opting for reusable items over single use!

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