When Eco Chavura was first formed, we conducted a survey regarding the top issues that temple members thought we should address. The number one response: RECYCLING; and for understandable reasons. For years, although the Temple may have had blue bins placed randomly in different areas within the building, there was no signage indicating what could go in them. Exacerbating the situation was the fact that if one came upon a blue bin and there was no accompanying trash bin, people simply threw their trash in the recycling bin. What does that do? It contaminates the recycling bin’s integrity and everything ends up going to the landfill. Landfills are BAD!
Bal Tashleit teaches us that we shouldn’t waste. By extrapolation that also means if something can be reused or recycled, it should not end up in the trash bin bound for a big, smelly landfill that spews gases into our atmosphere and takes up space. Obviously the best solution is to use products and materials that can be reused over and over again, such as ceramic coffee mugs and plates, resuable water bottles, and stainless steel silverware. The reality is that we are a society that relies on disposable items. As such, a better alternative to throwing everything away is to recycle as many items as possible.
What can be recycled? Knowing what can be recycled is not as cut and dry as it might seem. Each waste management company has different sorting facilities for recyclable materials and that means recycling varies by the waste hauler. Furthermore, what can be recycled constantly evolves as new processes are adopted. For example, did you know that orange juice and milk cartons can now be recycled?
Our new signage is the product of consultation with Waste Management paired with feedback from Temple staff, clergy and members.
Check it out!
PLEASE take 15 or 20 seconds to look at these signs BEFORE you toss something into a bin. Key points include:
- if a coffee cup (from Starbucks, for example) is EMPTY, then it can be recycled!
- anything with food or liquid in it can NOT be recycled
- wet paper towels and napkins can NOT be recycled
- compostable cups, plates and forks (predominantly used at Temple) go in the trash bin
- even though they look and feel like paper, they are made from sugar cane and will decompose quickly in the trash.
Because we recognize that this system can be confusing at first, we will have Recycling “tutors” stationed near bins at many times during the week at Temple, particularly during high traffic times.
Any questions? Confused? Have an idea? Want to help? Please contact Karen Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org
Karen Lewis is a member of Eco Chavurah. She holds Master’s degrees in business and public policy which she has used in both her professional and personal lives.