Why is recycling important?
Recycling helps to decrease reliance on raw materials for our daily life, everything from our toothbrushes to the latest “iFone” has the potential to be both made from recycled materials, as well as to be fully recyclable in the future.
Americans make more than 200 million tons of garbage each year, so recycling diverts waste from landfills, where even biodegradable recyclables like paper and other cellulose products may never have the right conditions for full decomposition.
What can we do as architects and designers to encourage and facilitate recycling and reuse?
Do your research about materials and vendors – focus on working with vendors who are committed to sustainability, reuse, and mindful production. Some vendors produce ‘new’ collections like they are fast fashion, this isn’t really conducive to reducing waste in the design industry, and there are only so many hours in a day to look at new tile samples with clients anyway.
Encourage your clients to think long term about sustainability and their health – There are many sustainable options that can reduce costs or increase comfort for clients, such as recycled cork flooring, which insulates and reduces sound amplification, recycled insulation, and wool or natural fiber insulation. The most common building materials today have recyclable alternatives. Concrete, metals, glass, brick, and plastics can all be produced with some form of the previously used material, and this process of production lowers the energy requirement and emissions by up to ninety percent in most cases.
Good design is universal and our fight for sustainability does not end when we go home for the day, nor does it only extend to recycling.
Clean up! Take a day and clean up all the plastic trash on your block, on the walk to your gym, or on your walk home from the train. If you don’t live somewhere walkable, join a volunteer day to pick up trash at the beach or a local park. This will help keep trash where it belongs – out of our waterways and oceans.
Focus on reducing your consumer impact overall – lobby your municipalities to increase recycling access, let corporations know if you think their packaging or sustainability initiatives are not up to snuff.
Help on a local level by adhering to recycling guidelines – don’t ‘wishcycle’ e. g. put things in recycling that you think ought to be recycled, but are not accepted by your town’s program.
Get in touch with our studio today to learn about how your next home can be beautiful, comfortable, and sustainable: firstname.lastname@example.org