Updated: May 26
With all the buzz surrounding the climate and bettering our environment there is no better time to talk about recycling. Our earth is always changing and it will always continue to be our responsibility to do what we can as inhabitants here to help preserve it. This starts with recycling! Here in Huntsville, we have an amazing recycling initiative that does a fantastic job of finding innovative ways to reduce and reuse our waste. The recycling plant in Huntsville city is one of the few in the nation that uses the recycling gases from plastic and other materials to help power our arsenal bases. Alongside very advanced techniques like the arsenal power, we have also created significant ways we can reuse even the smaller forms of plastic like twist tops from water bottles. Huntsville city schools developed a fun new way to create the “box top” competition in schools to fund different projects or equipment. After collecting the plastic twist tops, they are then recycled into paint cans that you see on shelves of places like Lowe’s or Home Depot. From plastic bags to other single use plastics there are a lot of ways we can all make easy changes in our daily consumption that could truly help change the better of the world.
This change does take some sacrifice on our part. We have grown to be accustomed to the conveniences of single use plastics but they are unfortunately doing a lot more harm than good. Single use plastics like straws, bags, and utensils find their way into the sewage and water systems and into the mouths of marine life and land animals alike. A good way to avoid this is by participating in purchasing products that allow for reuse like metal straws, metal or bamboo utensils, and grocery tote bags instead of plastic ones. When you order out or pickup take out simply ask for no plastic wear and no plastic bag. Stocking reusable utensils at work and even in your car makes this a quick and easy fix! I keep a set of bamboo straws in my car so I have them if I order a drive through drink. Most businesses will also allow you to bring your own reusable cup in to fill like Starbucks. They discount your purchase $.10 when you bring in your own container. These three small changes could make a massive difference if everyone could participate in that change.
Previously, the city of Huntsville had the small blue recycle bins that did not have a lot of space for your many recyclables, but now with RANA (Recycling Alliance of North Alabama), we have large bins that allow for much more! The pickup was reduced to once a month instead of once a week but this is to try and reduce the carbon emissions from the trucks making multiple trips around the city and allows for more employees to sort the recyclables so they can be more efficient with the process. Many residents are confused about what we can and cannot actually recycle in the city, especially after we made the switch to RANA. They did a helpful job of including instructions on the lids of the large bins they recently delivered to homes. The lid has a chart that explains what you can and cannot recycle. They also will deliver this large bin free to your home! You just have to go onto the RANA website and request a bin to your home, then the rest is up to you!
Some other significant consumer tips are to make switches at home like:
Use dish towels as often as possible and avoid paper towels whenever you can (this would save a lot of those trees we need more than ever now to help our ozone layer come back down to a lower temperature).
Avoid plastic water bottles at home and drink from the fridge filter or a filtered pitcher whenever possible.
Try to be more mindful when shopping for groceries and other products. Focus on product lines that have less packaging and even plastic packaging that we can actually recycle in our city. Those plastics are exclusively the ones that have the recycling symbol with the number 1 and 2. Many manufacturers are jumping on the green packaging movement and are doing a good job of using recycled plastics, cardboard, and glass containers for their products while staying affordable and those are the companies we should be supporting!
Use your shopping tote; not just in places like the grocery store but also at retail stores like the mall, Target, and any time you go somewhere you plan to purchase products. Ask for no bag when possible at retail shops.
Glass containers are always a great option too! If you did not know, Huntsville city no longer recycles glass because it is the most expensive to recycle after switching to RANA. But good news! Business owners like the ones in places like Lowe Mill will gladly accept your glass containers and turn them into beautiful artwork! It just takes a little research and you can find a lot of places that will be able to turn your trash into treasure.
Some more ways you can help are by setting up recycle bins at your work or other social places and gatherings. This helps to promote recycling and can help others remember to participate. Educate yourself on your local recycling initiatives and get involved! Huntsville recycling has information on recycling and waste disposal on their website. They also offer tours of the recycle center and our gas-powered Arsenal initiative. This is a great way to educate and involve your kids and teach them about what they can do locally to better the environment.
Proper basic recycling techniques in Huntsville: Rinse all containers, remove the caps from all bottles and containers( not required-but if you donate your plastic bottle caps to Huntsville City Schools they help to recycle them for you), break down all cardboard boxes, double check that the symbol on the container has the number 1 or 2 and is a long neck bottle-they do not recycle all 1 & 2 containers. Huntsville city recycling does not recycle the other numbers so it is wasteful to add those to the bin. Pizza boxes are also not recyclable, they contain grease and that makes the cardboard compromised.
Participating in recycling is a wonderful thing! We just need to make sure we are doing it correctly so our efforts are not wasted.
Trash and litter pickup also makes a great difference to your community. Dog walking or hiking is a great time to take a trash bag along with you and pick up litter as you go. You’re already outside on a walk so it's a quick and easy task to incorporate while making all the change! This is fun for the kids too!
Be on the lookout for announcements at Light On Yoga Fitness for how you can get involved with the studio to help clean up our community here in Huntsville!
We must have reverence for our earth and its magic. We must respect her ability to care, house, and protect, cleanse, and give life. Therefore, we must do our best to protect our home. Mother earth has shown so much patience and kindness with everything it has gone through partly from our hand. The time is now to give back and love her back, more than ever.
I included two links: Huntsville city recycling, RANA, and Grove Collaborative. Grove collaborative is an online resource that you can order reusable products and environmentally friendly home alternatives like cleaners, trash bags, sponges etc. But there are many more resources out there!
Written By Alex Taylor
Yoga 2 Barre Teacher