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Green vacation rentals help fight waste in our ocean beaches

Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Source: Cape Cod Cooperative Extension
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  • Refuse...
    things you don’t need – that extra plastic bag, any single-use plastic, plastic straws. Instead, carry your own reusable water bottle, coffee mug, straw, tote bags, etc.
  • Reduce...
    reliance on throw-away items that end up in land-fills or worse, in our oceans.
  • Reuse...
    items and avoid disposable stuff. Do you like picnics? Bring your plates, glasses and silverware then take it home, wash it up, and use it again. This is especially important on the beach!
  • Recycle...
    but only as a last resort. And believe it or not, cleaning out your recyclables will make a big difference in whether or not they actually get recycled. Check out Recycle Smart Massachusetts for more info, including specific instructions homeowners can provide their guests!

Want to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle all at once? Try Composting! Here are guidelines from the Mass Dept of Environmental Protection. But, given the critters we live with, be sure your bin has a secure lid.

A Word on Recycling...

Recycling is purposefully last on the list of “R’s” because we all need to do what we can to cut down on what we attempt to recycle. In addition to worrying about how to recycle properly, we should concentrate on reducing our use of plastics especially, and avoid “single-use” plastics, those that are used only once and thrown away. Think of all the water bottles, and soda bottles made for one drink and then disposed of.

Let’s greatly reduce use of single-use water bottles! If we focus on one goal, this would be the one.

Or plastic bags from stores. Or, little plastic bottles of just about everything.

What if all those water bottles weren’t bought in the first place and folks used reusable bottles instead? Imagine if our 4,000 homes cut single-use water bottles by even 10%! That’s 4,000 homes x 9 weeks in summer x 7 days/week x 5 bottles/day = 1 million, so 10% would save 100k plastic bottles from being disposed of.

China Rewrites Recycling Rules

There might have been a time when we could be satisfied by recycling our waste as best we could and we’d picture it all riding enormous cargo container ships to China where magically it would be converted cost-effectively into useful products. No more.

In 2017, China announced that it no longer wanted contaminated recycling from the West (USA & Europe). They increased their standards considerably and now, much of what is supposed “recycled” does not meet those standards. Thousands of companies and entrepreneurs are working hard to mitigate this problem but in the meantime, much of what we think we are recycling is ending up as trash in landfills or incinerators or the oceans generating harmful CO2 gases and impacting marine life.

Also, it is more important than ever to follow the guidelines towards provided non-contaminated recycling content so that China will take it. Contamination can ruin an entire batch of otherwise acceptable waste!