Keeping our Earth happy is a global effort. That’s one of the reasons Earth Day is recognized as a global holiday. A day for everyone to give back to Mother Earth, but shouldn’t we be giving back everyday? The obvious answer is YES, and we do for the most part. Take a look at the different ways countries around the world recycle.
Recycling in the United States is rapidly growing. Twenty years ago only one roadside recycling program existed in the US; by 2000 recycling and composting prevented over 64 million tons of material ending up in landfills. A number of states have passed laws that grant refunds on certain materials to promote recycling. Some states have instituted their own strict recycling laws, like banning bags in grocery stores, helping to eliminate paper product waste.
Italy will fine you if you don’t recycle properly. You can be charged up to 619 euros (roughly 813 US dollars) for not separating your trash and recyclables. There are color-coded bins to help you separate your waste. Green for household waste, white for paper and blue for plastic. However, larger cities like Rome are still struggling to keep waste off their streets.
Canada uses the standard box system for recycling. Blue bins, blue bags etc. However Vancouver is one of the first cities in the world to begin recycling cigarette butts. They started their pilot program in 2013, where recycling bins were placed around the city strictly for cigarette butts. These butts are recycled into things like plastic pallets. This is huge as cigarettes are on of the most littered items in the world.
China for many years has been importing waste from the west. For decades countries have been sending China their scraps and waste for recycling. However, in 2017 China places a ban on 24 types of solid waste. This year they announced there would be 32 more waste type bans. This ban has been placed in hopes to reduce environmental damage in China. The Chinese government is very concerned with the unruly amount of garbage that’s amounting and is working towards a solution.
Switzerland is one of the best recyclers in the world! The country charges for theirs disposal of junk. If you live in Switzerland you have to purchase a specific bag to dispose of your garbage, the prices vary based on the size of the bag. The smaller the trash bag, the less it costs. This makes the Swiss very diligent about what they’re recycling and what they’re throwing away. They even have the option to recycle your green waste. If you have a garden, the trimmings can be put out on the street and are collected every few weeks.
Germany is another country that uses finances to recycle, charging for not properly separated waste. They have 5 types of waste bins to help your organize your trash. Yellow for packaging, blue for paper or cardboard, a bin for glass, a “bio” bin designated for leftover food and plant waste, and a black bin for anything that doesn’t belong in the other bins. There is even a collection point at their recycling depots for dead animals. If your cat or dog has passed away, you can bring your animals there and a facility uses their fat in lips balms and other products.
Sweden is known for being passionate about recycling. This country powers a quarter of a million homes with burnt up waste. They use their garbage to create heat and electricity. Trash is also a major import, Sweden imports trash from other countries to convert into clean energy. Countries are paying them to take their trash! The remaining ashes from these burns are used in gravel for road construction. Plus, the smoke from these planets are 99% non toxic and has to travel through multiple filters before entering the air, minimizing air pollution. They’ve definitely got the hang of it!