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Recyclable vs compostable. Which is better to save the planet?

July 9, 2021

“Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.” This has been taught in American schools for decades. It was the same message when I was a kid, and it’s the same message for my kids today. But… this message is deceiving.

I’m 100% aligned with reduce and reuse. I try to do this constantly. But that third one… recycle… is kind of a cop out.

I think that a majority of Americans feel that, if they’re recycling, there’s nothing to worry about. They are doing their part to save the planet. Wrong!!!

According to the EPA, currently only 9% of plastic in the US is recycled.

That’s right. 91% of the plastic you put in the recycling bin goes to a landfill or is incinerated. Argh! That’s really not that helpful.

And... that’s not to mention the energy it takes, the pollution created, and the forever chemicals produced by plastic recycling.

And... that also doesn’t take into account that plastic can only be recycled a certain number of times. That magical Trex decking that requires little maintenance and is made with recycled plastics only lasts 25-30 years. After that, off to the landfill it goes. It cannot be recycled again.

This is why, at Miller’s, we choose reusable and compostable packaging as much as possible.

All of our glass can be reused. 

If you don’t live close enough to the farm to return it, I do hope you can reuse it at home or give it to someone else who will. 

If your glass does go into the recycling, there’s a much better chance, around 25%, that it will be recycled. 

And... if glass ends up in a landfill, at least we know that it will eventually break down into sand and not microplastics and chemicals.

The cardboard and paper padding and plant-based plastics are all compostable. 

If you don’t have a home compost, perhaps you can subscribe to a composting service, a growing industry.

The worst case scenario is that your compostable packaging ends up in a landfill. In that case, at least we know it will be dirt in a year and not sit for hundreds of years and leech synthetics into the environment.

So, what do you think? Do you prefer recyclable or compostable packaging? Inquiring minds would love to know!

Marie Reedell

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