Consumers must focus

on reducing, reusing

Editor, Times Dispatch:

As Robin Beres points out in her recent editorial, "Recycling rates on the rise," we should be proud that the rate of recycling in the Richmond region is the highest in the state for a large metropolitan area. Hopefully our recycling rates will continue to rise, but we need to focus on the "reduce" and "reuse" part of the “Reduce, recycle and reuse” slogan. When a retail outlet, manufacturer or restaurant eliminates plastic bags, plastic packaging and plastic take-out containers, we should thank them. We need to remember to carry our own bags, reusable containers and water bottles, and choose the biodegradable packaging rather than the cheaper plastic container.

Reducing our plastic footprint is especially important for the future. Plastic is made from fossil fuel, which increases our dependency on the fossil fuel industry. As we have heard recently, the future of our curbside recycling programs is not guaranteed. The market for recycled materials is decreasing, which could mean that plastics and other materials that are currently recycled could be headed for landfills in the future. We must reduce our waste because sending more to landfills is not a sustainable solution. Consider working with an environmental group such as the Sierra Club's Falls of the James Group to reduce the use of single-use plastics in the Richmond area.

Kate McClory.


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