The absence of recycling systems in a large number of apartment complexes and condos is an increasingly urgent problem. In states like New York and California, laws have been put into place that require recycling in complexes, yet in Alabama, no such law exists. When you research ways to implement recycling in your own complex, many websites will offer guides with different steps to take, including finding recycling drop off centers within one’s town. This suggests that most apartment complexes lack their own systems to properly dispose of plastic and those interested in recycling must resort to either trying to implement a system themselves or find a curbside drop off location in their town.
Having recently moved out of an apartment complex, I personally know what it is like to go out of my way every month to try and recycle. Recycling is meant to be an easy and cost-effective way to help the environment without having to make any major changes to one’s lifestyle, yet the unavailability of something so simple to those who live in apartments is almost unfair. A couple of years ago, I even tried to request recycling bins from the complex managers to potentially increase the recycling rate from my family and other apartment dwellers but was rejected.
According to an article by Huffington Post on The Psychology Behind Why Most People Don’t Recycle, 25% of people do not recycle because it’s not accessible or convenient where they live. Furthermore, the majority of those who do not have access to recycling live in the south. That being said, it’s safe to assume most people in Alabama and other southern states, at least, do not recycle if it’s not an extremely easy or readily available task to accomplish. It’s highly likely that my family would not have recycled due to the unavailability of it in my area had I not tried to personally enforce it, which seems to ring true for others. This means that plastic and other recyclables are being sent to landfills, where the harmful chemicals and greenhouse gases are released and cause an increase in pollution. This also results in a piling up of garbage, most of which likely could be reused or repurposed for something else.
These things that are so harmful to the environment could very easily be avoided if providing recycling bins in apartments and condos are prioritized. As stated by the Renewable Resources Coalition, industrial waste is the primary source of pollution, and recycling can drastically reduce that amount of waste. Major strides towards bettering the environment can be made by simply recycling, which is yet another reason why it should already be in existence within apartment complexes and condos. Taking all of this into account, as well as the current relevance of climate change and environmental conservation, it is urgent that either lawmakers require recycling in apartments and condos or companies themselves implement programs for their tenants.
Written by: Jawana Kamal / @jawanakamal
Photography by: Jawana Kamal / @jawanakamal
Edited by: Elizabeth Webber / @lizflute13 / @elizabethw169
Isabel Hope / @isabama /@isabamahope