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All of us can help cut down on our individual greenhouse gas footprint by decreasing our own energy consumption. We all know about using more efficient light bulbs, unplugging chargers when not in use, and buying more fuel-efficient cars. That is just the beginning. There are more ways we can all cut down on our individual energy requirements. We can reuse and recycle the items we buy, use or consume. To support this goal, I personally believe California should move to mandatory automated single-stream recycling.
“Single stream” means the individual customer doesn’t have to separate recyclables into paper, plastics, cans, etc at the pick-up location. It will be separated at the recycling center. “Automated” means a standard 65-gallon recycling bin that can be picked up by the recycling truck. It does not require a human to move the bin to the truck to empty it. By giving people a large enclosed recycling bin it will encourage recycling larger objects such as gift-wrap rolls, Christmas wrapping paper. This will also send less trash to the landfills, an added bonus. Once we can require everyone to recycle we can encourage everyone to limit the amount of trash they create.
Eventually, if all Californians were required to limit their household trash to the 32-gallon trash can and recyclables to the 60-gallon bins, we can help change the way we all think about the trash we create. We would start buying items that can be recycled or reused because we were limited to the amount of trash we could create. We would demand less packaging from our product manufacturers. We would learn how to reuse our products. We would use bottle brushes to wash and reuse our bottled water bottles two or three times before properly recycling. This would decrease the amount of greenhouse gases used in the manufacturing process to create new bottles as well as limit the need to create more landfills to dispose of the plastic bottles.
The first step to changing behavior is automated single stream recycling throughout California. Coronado is not there yet and I am not speaking for the city or the City Council but I hope to encourage my city to start moving in that direction.