Crane School Blog: Focus on Learning

Featuring articles written by Crane Staffulty

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Recycling at Crane
Ryan Long

The reality of modern life is that each of us creates waste in the wake of our consumption. Beverages that we drink come in bottles, cartons or cans, most of the foods we eat come bagged or boxed in plastic, and many of the household and personal care items we use come in tubes or jugs. When we are finished with the products, we must decide where the containers will go. Here in Santa Barbara, the options are clear: brown garbage can or blue recycling bin...

The reality of modern life is that each of us creates waste in the wake of our consumption. Beverages that we drink come in bottles, cartons or cans, most of the foods we eat come bagged or boxed in plastic, and many of the household and personal care items we use come in tubes or jugs. When we are finished with the products, we must decide where the containers will go. Here in Santa Barbara, the options are clear: brown garbage can or blue recycling bin.

What goes in which receptacle, however, is a more complicated question. Marborg, our local waste management company, is often adjusting what they will and will not accept, which causes public confusion. These guidelines change based on what the companies that buy the plastic, paper, metal and glass are willing to purchase. Most of our recyclables end up across the world in countries including China and Vietnam, where they can be turned into new products. In 2018, China banned imported scrap material loads that exceed 0.5 percent contamination. As a result, many usable recyclables get thrown out because they are mixed with improperly sorted items. Marborg reports that 18.8 percent of blue bin content in the city is trash, which far exceeds the contamination rate. 

According to the new recycling guidelines that were released in January, many of the things that were recyclable in the past are no longer accepted. These include plastic food containers that hold salsa, yogurt, hummus, or berries. Paper food and beverage containers including milk cartons and Tetrapack (many juice, soup and nondairy milk boxes) have also been removed. Marborg continues to reject styrofoam, all plastic bags and film plastic, wrappers, pizza boxes, and all paper and plastic straws, cups, plates, and utensils.

At Crane, we are working to prevent contamination and keep recyclables from ending up in the landfill. We can all do our part to help Mr. Caretto and the fifth grade recycling team with their efforts to reduce waste. This means only putting the following in our blue bins:

  • Plastic beverage and household bottles with caps on
  • Paper bags, copy paper, newspapers, and flattened cardboard
  • Aluminum cans, trays, and foil
  • Glass bottles and jars

In all cases, these items must be empty, clean and dry! When in doubt, throw it out. 

Check out the current recycling guide below and talk with your children about what should go in each bin. By consuming thoughtfully and sorting correctly, we can save energy and water, use less fossil fuel, cut fewer trees, and keep raw materials in the earth.

Ryan Long
Service Learning Coordinator & Director of After-School Programs

 

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