“Going Green” is usually refers to individuals, businesses, or communities making environmentally friendly and ecologically responsible decisions. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, America is moving toward a “green culture” where over 300 million citizens are embracing the fact that environmental responsibility is everyone’s responsibility. Well, the City of Laredo will soon be a greener city thanks to the arrival of “Billie Bote,” the blue recycling bin.
The City’s goal is to increase recycling citywide by making the convenient, 96-gallon, roll-out recycling carts available to all single-family homes. With the larger bins, residents recover more materials and, thus, keep recyclables out of our landfill. The rolling carts also make set-out easier, increasing participation in the program.
There are many ways we can make our lives greener, and recycling is certainly one of those. However, intending to recycle isn’t the same as doing it and doing it correctly. While the new carts make it simple to get recyclables from the house to the curb, you still need to make choices about what materials belong in the cart—and which don’t. There are items that shouldn’t be mixed with your recyclables. For instance, food scraps and yard waste should NOT go into the blue Billie Bote recycling bin. These items can contaminate cardboard and paper, making them difficult or even impossible to recycle. Refer to the box at right for a list of items that are acceptable in the blue Billie Bote.
If you already recycle and do so properly, you may have noticed that you have reduced the amount of trash you set out by as much as 30%. When you recycle, the Willie Bote, the green trash can, is used less, and fewer resources end up in the landfill. In landfills, aluminum cans or plastics may take 500 or more years to break down. When those same items are recycled, the materials can be made into a new product and back on the store shelf within months. Doesn’t that seem like a better way to manage our material resources? The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality estimates that recycling 1 ton of paper saves 17 to 31 trees, depending on the size of those trees. Harvesting fewer trees improves air quality, among other benefits. Plus, making new paper from recovered paper also uses less water during the manufacturing process.
Expect your new blue Billie Bote recycling cart soon. Welcome the Billie Bote and accept the challenge of recycling more. Remember—recycle today for a better tomorrow!