Commentary

Global Recycling Day   March 18th

Published on
March 15, 2024
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by Jessica Pierce

The City of Newburyport’s Sustainability Office invites Newburyport residents to celebrate the significance of Global Recycling Day as we seek ways to reduce waste throughout the world. Recycling is challenging. What we often think of as recycling is just one small part of a larger process. That process involves several complex and sometimes difficult steps. And, unfortunately, a lot can, and often does, go wrong at any number of those steps, especially for difficult-to-recycle materials like plastic. The production and disposal of plastics generates huge amounts of CO2 emissions and recycling can help in its reduction. Considering that 2023 was the hottest year on record, it’s important now more than ever to do everything that we can to mitigate all climate impacts, especially as a coastal city. Since Newburyporters are already avid recyclers, conscientious about their waste, we are excited to observe a day dedicated to acknowledging international efforts towards sustainability on March 18. Here in our small, sea-side corner, we are fortunate to have a well-functioning, staffed recycling center that offers multiple streams of materials to be recycled. The Recycling Center is located on 23A Colby Farm and can be utilized by Newburyport residents on Mondays and Thursdays from 12:15 PM to 2:15 PM, as well as the first Saturday of each month from 8 AM to 12 PM. While some plastics are, in fact, difficult to recycle, the Colby Farm Recycling Center has a partnership with a recycling contractor that recycles bulky and rigid plastics. Also, our curbside recycling program that takes food containers, boxes and paper, consistently recycles plastic containers that are labeled 1, 2, and 5. Metal, paper and cardboard all have market value. Glass and metal can be recycled infinitely without losing any quality. If you have any questions or concerns about recycling please call the Recycling Department (978) 499-0413.

As Matthew Gandy of Evercore Investments notes: “Recycling is more than just a response to the environmental crisis and has assumed a symbolic role in beginning to change the nature of western societies and the culture of consumerism. Indeed, many environmentalists assume that there will be an inevitable shift from our ‘throwaway’ society to a post-industrial ‘recycling’ society of the future.”

It should be acknowledged, however, that the byproduct of plastic recycling is not considerable enough to be the be-all and end-all solution to the plastic waste crisis. We are surrounded by plastic, so much so that it would be difficult for the average person to simply cut all plastic out of their life. While we must do our part in trying to reduce our use of plastics, it is equally important to voice our concerns to local governments and to hold plastic producers accountable.

The city is fortunate to have an extensive recycling center which allows us to recycle many products including textiles, tires, any electronics, all metals, bulk plastics in any form, Styrofoam, antifreeze, motor and cooking oil and even mattresses. Recycling can be a powerful tool when used optimally. So on March 18th, please join all stewards and the city for a day dedicated to recognizing the value of recycling.

Jessica is a Sustainability Assistant in the Newburyport's Sustainability Office who may be reached at JPierce@cityofnewburyport.

Youth Corps members recommend that you consider the positive impact of recycling all qualifying waste every day. You can subscribe to ACES' monthly newsletter by clicking on the "Subscribe to Updates" tab on this page. Please consider sending any ideas you have on recycling and its contribution to our planet’s climate and environment's health at acesnewburyport@gmail.com.

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