Wednesday, 29 March 2017 15:52

Educating Ourselves About Recycling

Written by Steve Stelzer, Director of the Public Works and Engineering Green Building Resource Center
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Generations of Americans have grown up learning about recycling, yet surveys suggest that only half of Americans recycle on a regular basis. With the widespread availability of recycling options, it can be difficult to understand why so many Americans still don’t recycle.

Environmental Education is perhaps the best way to spark positive change. Increasingly common in schools, Environmental Education teaches us how natural environments function, and how human beings can manage behavior and ecosystems to live sustainably, states Wikipedia. If you have school-aged children, check in with them about what they’re learning.

Still, why is recycling so difficult? Why can’t we just recycle everything? Consider watching The Story of Stuff on YouTube. In 19 minutes, you will have a great view of the complexity of our current way of life.

If you have ever purchased or consumed commercially bottled water, take the time to watch The Story of Bottled Water. Is there a disposable plastic water bottle in your workspace right now?  

Here are a few tips on how to make a difference:

  • Almost all of Houston’s City buildings have recycling services available to employees.
  • Our office supply contractor, Staples, offers options to purchase two better environmental levels of products (basic and advanced), some of which contain higher recycled material.
  • Want to get your green on? The “Bring Your Green to Work” button on the Green Building Resource Center homepage:
    • Replace desk laps with LED bulbs and turn them off when you are away from your desk.
    • Use a water cooler rather than individual bottled water
    • Recycle unused papers, plastics and aluminum
    • Recycle batteries, and don’t put them in the trash.