Interns at Castro Valley have been hard at work researching and learning about the elaborate recycling and compost system and how our every day decisions effect that network. Earlier this month, interns were introduced to Earth Team’s Adopt 3 Bins Sustainable Youth Internship project that will be their main focus throughout the semester. Brainstorming outreach material and preparing to collect data on waste audits performed by participating families, their semester hit the ground running with project preparations.
While researching the recycling and composting process, it became clear that contamination in the system was a major complication. People who think they are doing good by throwing items in the recycling and compost bin can potentially be creating a larger problem. An entire bin of possible recyclable materials could end up in the landfill this way.
Interns conducted their own at home waste audits, digging through their kitchen recycling bins to determine the amount and types of waste being produced in their home and recording what items were disposed of improperly. By sifting through their own trash, interns gained perspective on the waste patterns and how well their family understood the sorting rules of Alameda County. Interns were often surprised by how much trash was contaminating the recycling bin- plastic food containers not properly cleaned, or loose plastic bags that should be bundled together for better sorting and to not clog the machines.
After learning in depth the lengths of the recycling system and the issues that arise from contaminated bins, interns are eager to introduce this project to the public and help the Alameda County community improve their 3 bin system and waste sorting. If you or someone you know are interested in joining Earth Team’s Adopt 3 Bins project, you can learn more at this link!