Recycling should become part of our daily lives

Cameron Dueck
Cameron Dueck |

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New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has introduced new recycling laws to upgrade the rules put in place more than 20 years ago. Under the new rules, a much wider range of plastic containers will be recycled, including everything from yogurt containers to flower pots and medicine bottles.

The city will also put 200 new recycling bins in public places in the next three years. There will be a total of 700 new bins over the next 10 years in New York. It already has 300 such bins.

The new law has an interesting feature, with city workers collecting hazardous waste - such as batteries, air conditioners and electronics - once a year. Schools will have to name a recycling co-ordinator and provide recycling bins.

Reading this piece of news made me think about recycling in Hong Kong. I have to walk more than one block to take my waste to the nearest recycling bins. Walking one block is not a big deal, but it does make recycling less convenient than I'd like it to be.

We don't have to walk a whole block to find a place to throw away our normal rubbish, so does it make sense to walk that far to be a good citizen and recycle my waste? Having so few recycling stations discourages people from recycling.

One of the easiest ways to improve your recycling habits is to make it more convenient. Doing things such as having two rubbish bins - one for garbage and one for recycling - helps. It also helps to know where the nearest recycling stations are. If you don't have one in your building, see if there is one on your way to the supermarket or school. That way you can drop the rubbish off as you go about your normal day.

While Hong Kong is one of the world's most developed cities, we can't seem to get our act together when it comes to recycling. However, because Hong Kong has a high population concentration, it should be easier to recycle here than in many other cities.

Recycling is about creating new habits. For many years we had a bad habit of throwing away all our rubbish without thinking about it. Recycling should become a part of our daily lives - no excuses.