I’m late to recycling practices. My early efforts were sporadic based on my convenience, availability of recycling sites, and drop-off times. Is it?” rationalized.
A trip to Scotland piqued my curiosity and changed my mind. I stayed in a small village called Wigtown. Each morning a sealed blue bucket was left in each household by the curb. Got to know this was part of a food collection project. Collected food waste is transported to factories where microorganisms break down organic matter in an oxygen-free, closed container through a natural process called anaerobic digestion (AD). This produces biogas, which can be used directly in the engine in the same way as natural gas or vehicle fuel. AD now powers his 130,000 homes in Scotland, according to industry group ADBA.
Further research revealed that this small country of thrifty Scots leads the world in zero-waste programs. Scotland has a national target of 70% recycling by 2025. Around 40% of household waste in Scotland is now recycled. Importantly, the Scottish government is vigorously supporting local governments to increase recycling rates.
Our linear economy is primarily “take, make, throw away”. We take resources from the ground, air and water. make them into products. Then dispose of them. Scotland is a leader in promoting a circular economy that reduces demand for raw materials in products, encourages reuse and repair and encourages manufacturers to design products that last as long as possible. Innovative recycling methods maximize the value of the waste generated.
Some Scottish companies have already embraced the concept of a circular economy by introducing reuse and repair services, or leasing goods to customers rather than selling them. This affects the types of things that end up as waste. All individuals, public and corporate sectors are being asked to minimize the use of primary resources and maximize reuse, recycling and recovery. We encourage you to purchase second-hand or refurbished items to reduce the amount of waste.
With a little searching, I discovered how easy it is to find recycling locations in Monroe County. There are regular times when almost all types of materials are recycled. RecycleNOW is a free countywide drop-off program. This is a single-stream program, meaning that all items are loosely trashed without being bagged or stuffed into other items. They are classified at the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF).
Program accepts empty, clean, dry material:Flattened cardboard, paper, metal cans, hard plastic containers (#1, #2, and #5), and glass bottles and jugs.
Includes the following times and locations:
- Every Tuesday: Bedford Township Hall, 8100 Jackman Road, Temperance. Bedford also has an electronics recycling drop-off for small items. Microwaves and other electronic waste that are too large for the Bedford Township Hall IT bins can be brought into the ReStore.
- Every Wednesday: Monroe Charter Township Hall, 4925 E. Dunbar Road, Monroe.
- 1st and 3rd Monday of each month: Dundee Kroger, 571 E Monroe Street, Dundee.
- Second Tuesday of each month: St. Joseph Catholic Church, Erie, 2238 Manhattan Street.
- Every Tuesday and Thursday: Stevens Disposal, 16929 Ida West Road, Petersburg.
Recycling options for many other specialty items such as medical waste, household cleaning products, motor oil, electronics and many more can be found at www.co.monroe.mi.us/547/RecycleNOW—Free-Drop-off-Recycling can be found at
After seeing what small countries are doing to harness and reuse their resources, I decided to follow in the footsteps of my thrifty ancestors and make recycling part of my weekly schedule. It also reevaluates what products you actually need to buy and what resources are used to produce them. Yes, one person can make a small step and make a difference I can.
Mary BullardA retired librarian and member of the Stronger Together Huddle, a group that supports and advances the common good. She lives in Temperance,email@example.com.