According to the City of Reno’s Sustainability Climate Action Plan, the average person in Washoe County generates 7.9 pounds of waste per day – this is nearly double the national average of 4.4 pounds. That is where recycling comes in. However, our recycling rate is still drastically lagging behind that of the rest of the country. In 1991, the Nevada State Legislature aspired to hit the recycling goal of 25%; unfortunately, two decades later, Washoe County’s recycling rate is 24.5% while Nevada’s is 21%. As of 2017, the national recycling rate was 34.3%. Steps are being taken to reduce our city and state’s carbon footprint. However, there are things you can do as well to help further this process!
To make an impact, you sometimes have to start small. Therefore, what can you do to reduce your waste? To start, you can refer to the 5 Rs: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rot (in that order!) Recycling comes 4th. When it comes down to recycling, Reno has luckily implemented single-stream recycling, making it more convenient for the average consumer. However, due to contamination, 25% of the items we place in our recycling bin cannot be recycled.
Dos and Don’ts of Recycling (in your curbside bin):
Did you know that not everything is recyclable and that certain items must be cleaned before recycling? Did you also know that certain items, like plastic bags, can’t be put in your at-home recycling bin? Recycling is a fantastic way to help preserve our planet’s resources, but recycling correctly is crucial. Plastic and metal food storage containers have to be cleared entirely of food waste and liquids; otherwise, they could contaminate entire loads of recyclables, causing the batch as the whole to be thrown in landfills instead. The same goes for single-use, plastic grocery bags put in residential recycling bins. The bags can wrap around the equipment and shut down an entire recycling plant. Because our community uses a single-stream recycling program, the focus is on rigid recyclables. This means that materials such as produce and grocery bags should be dropped off at collection bins commonly found at many retail stores like Walmart or Target, or your local grocery store.
When in doubt, leave it out!
Place Plastic Bottles & Containers, Food & Beverage cans, Glass, Paper, Flattened Cardboard & Paperboard into your blue bin. Avoid placing the following in your recycling bin: Electronics, Batteries, Needles, Cords, Clothing, Snack Bags & Wrappers, Foam Cups & Containers, Yard Waste & Grass Clippings, Diapers & Pet Waste, and Food Soiled Paper. When it comes to the items that you cannot recycle in your curbside bin, you can always refer to KTMB’s Recycling Guide on our website at ktmb.org to find out where else you can recycle them.
Why should I recycle?
Reno’s Sustainability and Climate Action plan points to many benefits from recycling, such as conserving natural resources, beautifying urban and natural landscapes, reducing litter, and creating green jobs that contribute to the local economy.
To learn more about the City of Reno’s Sustainability and Climate Action plan visit: www.ktmb.org/recycle
Source: the city of reno sustainability and climate action plan (https://www.reno.gov/community/sustainability)