Unspoiled natural beauty and pristine forests and lakes make enjoying the great outdoors in Michigan so special. Today, guest blogger Kerrin O’Brien from Michigan Recycling Coalition shares some best practices for recycling while traveling in Michigan.
So, the great Michigan outdoors beacons you to come play? What drew you? The amazing fresh water beaches? Picturesque sand dunes? Sublime, cool forests? Or, the rustic and modern places where friends come to eat, drink and be merry? Whatever your reason for traveling in and around Michigan, take notice of these places. Do you see litter? Can you find a trash can or better yet, where’s the recycling bin?
What you don’t see in the water, on the beach or in the forest is a big part of what makes Michigan pure. We care about our peninsulas and it shows. Michiganders take great pride in the beauty of our state.
As a kid, my family went camping a lot. It’s what young families did in the 1970’s. One camping trip to the Great Smokey Mountains in Kentucky left a big impression on me. Sadly, it wasn’t the beauty of the mountains but the trash dumped off the side of a cliff that left its mark. We never encountered this kind of thoughtlessness on such a grand scale in Michigan. My family spent a day cleaning up that hillside.
Now when my family goes camping, we think about leaving no trace long before we’re in place. You won’t always have ready access to convenient garbage cans, let alone recycling bins, so it’s important to consider your options before you don’t have them. We try to make smart choices about the products and packaging we buy before we’re in the woods or at the beach.
Recycling wasn’t yet a big thing in the 1970’s, but neither was complex plastic packaging. Think about reducing your waste when you’re buying. Purchasing products sold in minimal, smart, and recyclable packaging will reduce your waste burden and bill. Recycling, wherever you find yourself, is an important part of the commitment and unfortunately, not always easy.
Governor Rick Snyder recently made recycling a priority for Michigan. We now know that providing Michiganders and visitors with recycling options wherever they go is an important part of keeping Michigan clean and green. The environmental benefits of recycling are probably clear to many of us, turning our garbage into back into new products puts our garbage to work for us and conserves our resources. But you know what else recycling does? It creates jobs and local economic activity that doesn’t involve digging for new resources.
So, on your travels this summer, look for ways to reduce your waste in the first place, choose recyclable products and packaging, buy in bulk, look for or ask for recycling bins wherever you go, pack out your recyclables and feel confident that you’re playing your part in Pure Michigan.
How do you recycle while traveling?
Kerrin O’Brien has been involved in recycling on a professional level for more than 20 years and Executive Director of the Michigan Recycling Coalition since 2008. O’Brien’s experience in the Smokey Mountains so long ago gave her the passion and purpose to make a career of reducing waste. The Michigan Recycling Coalition is an association for recycling professionals and statewide advocate for best practices and policies in recycling. Their Recycle, MI campaign aims at raising awareness of the value of recycling for communities across the state.