Plastic Bottle Recycling On-The-Go

Guest Blogger – Clare

So you’ve been recycling at home for a while now, which is great. You’ve started collecting your plastic bottles at work or school, too. You’ve got this recycling thing taken care of…or do you? Your favorite mall or your house of worship doesn’t recycle. Come to think of it, the kids’ soccer park doesn’t recycle either. So what do you do with your empty plastic bottle when you’re on the go? Here are some options:

• Hold on to it: The “duh” option gets to the heart of how someone defines convenience. Some might think only when a bin is within walking distance is recycling convenient. Others have ways to make recycling easy even if it’s not expressly convenient. For example, when you’re out shopping and finish a drink in a bottle, twist the cap back on and toss it into one of your shopping bags until you get home. That way no liquid residue gets on your goods and you can recycle it when you get home. This also works with a gym bag, purse or diaper bag. If you’re near your car, pop the bottle in the trunk or the back seat and recycle it where you know there’s a bin. Or just literally hold on to it. If you’re willing to carry the bottle around with the drink still inside, what’s the harm in holding it empty?

• Find a bin nearby: In the age of smart phones there are several ways to look up where to recycle your plastic bottle. Earth911’s iPhone recycling application allows users to look up recycling areas from their current location (or a specified one) and a material. Luckily for North Carolina residents, DPPEA is working with Earth911 to update the recycling locations throughout the state so you can find the nearest place to recycle anything within the state. Another website to find recycling locations is http://nc.myecoville.com/ecosearch. While Ecoville doesn’t have a mobile site yet, you can still search for recycling locations at home or on a Web-capable phone. If you’re low tech, often the best way to find a bin is by asking around. There might be one hiding in a bathroom or behind a counter.

• Talk to property manager about setting up a recycling program: If it bothers you enough that your favorite restaurant or gym doesn’t have a recycling program, do something about it. DPPEA has a flier for consumers to give to their favorite local business to help it start a recycling program. You can download that flier here. You can also get ideas from the recycling success stories on DPPEA’s Case Study page.

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