Did you know that just 9% of the world’s plastics are recycled? That’s right – according to National Geographic, 91% of the world’s plastics become trash and litter – that’s 8.3 billion metric tons, most of it in disposable products that end up as trash. Plastic takes more than 400 years to degrade, so the majority still exists in some form.
In our twentieth year at Leapley, we are working to make positive change and live our motto to build environments where people thrive. Recognizing that we build our own environments, we started an internal recycling program this year by providing bins for papers, plastics, and aluminum in the office, as well as reducing the use of plastic bottles by our employees by providing reusable containers and filtered water. On our jobsites, our crews use the “measure twice, cut once” method, as well as donate usable construction products demolished out of spaces to the Lifecycle Building Center and enlist a construction debris recycling company to keep construction debris out of landfills.
To honor this Earth Day, Leapley got a crew together to visit ChaRM, the Center for Hard to Recycle Materials. Operated by Live Thrive Atlanta – a 501(c)3 which subsists on volunteers and donations, CHaRM is a permanent drop-off facility which encourages reuse and diverting thousands of pounds of household hazardous waste, bulky trash, and other hard to recycle items from Metro-Atlanta landfills and water systems.
In the last year, CHaRM has recycled over:
- 401,000 gallons of paint
- 392,000 pounds of electronics
- 6,000 pounds of styrofoam
- 23,000 tires
- 433,000 pounds of metal
- 1,500 mattresses
Our team volunteered time to help organize and sort recyclables on-site and got an in-depth look at the recycling process. Did you know that the plastics in cigarettes can be turned into park benches and styrofoam can be recycled into building materials? Be sure to check your plastics for the numbers 1 through 7, but know that not all items are easily recyclable at curbside and could contaminate the other recyclables in the bin. Research your local regulations regarding recycling. If plastic pollution continues to rise, it’s estimated that the ocean could contain more plastic than fish by the year 2050.
Any small changes can make an impact, and here a Leapley – we aim to do our part.
Happy Earth Day!