Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! We have all heard this since we were kids. We need to save the planet by recycling. It stands to reason that if we reduce the amount of waste we produce that our planet will be better off. We recycled at home. Marietta City made it easy by including it with our trash service. I was even disappointed when they stopped accepting glass! So when we started Vego we naturally looked into getting a recycling service for the restaurant.
Recycling was included in our trash service at home, we found several companies that will remove and recycle our used cooking oil for FREE, so why will it cost us $250 for a bin and $80 a month to do the right thing and recycle at the restaurant? I was shocked, and I told the sales person as much. I literally said, "You are making it really hard to do the right thing, aren't you?" That is a big bill for a small company struggling through its first year! Naturally, we decided that recycling at Vego would have to wait. Then we moved in with my in-laws (waiting on the closing of our new house), and discovered that they no longer recycle because their trash service started charging extra for the service!
We have always been committed to using recycled, and compostable/biodegradable materials utensils and paper products. I have posted on social media that we use corn or potato starch forks and spoons, biodegradable straws, and the brown serving trays and to-go boxes are made with recycled material. We pay extra for these items because we know that it is important to many of our customers, and because it is important to us.
We have caught a bit of flack lately because we don't have recycle bins. One customer was visibly disappointed with the news that we do not recycle, but she took matters into her own hands and took her materials home with her--I can respect that. She found her own solution, at least for her portion of the waste. We have had other customers that have taken to writing ugly reviews. One such customer lambasted us for the price of our food being too high, and then told us we should be ashamed for not recycling. Now, everyone knows that a business has to pass on expenses to their customers in order to survive. So if she doesn't like that we have to pass on the expense of fresh, plant-based, gluten-free food to our customers then she will certainly not like us passing on the expense of recycling as well!
But all of this got me thinking...is doing the right thing for the environment something only the elite can afford? It costs extra to recycle, it costs extra for the eco-friendly cars, all of the environmentally friendly products like natural cleaning and beauty products cost extra, sometimes a TON extra! Let's face it, not too many of us have the time or energy to figure out what homemade products really work, so not only are these companies passing on expenses but they are also capitalizing on our fast-paced lives. Over the course of my research I ran into some articles about how recycling certain products isn't as eco-friendly as we think. There is also info out there about how companies get paid by the ton for our recyclable trash.
I don't have time to debate the pros and cons of recycling. I do know that we, as the human race, are producing more waste than our planet can handle. So, I decided to take the filth that was spewed at me (i.e. the nasty criticism without offering a solution) and see if I could recycle that negativity into something useful. I think I have found something. There is a facility in my area that will accept all types of recyclables at one facility (you would be surprised how hard that is to find). I will have to drop off the materials myself, but it is not that far out of the way.
Recycling center in the Cobb County, Georgia
Address: 1775 County Services Pkwy, Marietta, GA 30008
Phone: (678) 403-3900
The kind lady on the phone said that they have bins where you can sort your items. Or you can toss it all in the mixed bin, but they ask that you separate glass and cardboard. She also told me that there is no need to wash the items out. Obviously they do not want heavily soiled items, but she said for every one person that rinses there are 30 that don't.
We will be getting recycling bins at Vego soon. I will make time in my busy schedule to drop off the materials collected. We will do our part now that I have found an economical solution! I have shared this facility's information so that if you are in my same position and area, you now have a solution! If you are outside of my area there is hope that you can find a similar facility in your area.