We’re still deep in the lockdown and the Earth911 team gathers from the far corners of the U.S. to discuss how to improve our personal and community sustainability as we emerge from the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Earth911’s Sarah Lozanova, Mitch Ratcliffe, and our producer, Doug Mackey, talk about the increased recycling reported by cities, as well as the disappointing news that people are not cleaning and sorting recyclables — contamination rates stay stuck between 20 percent and 25 percent in many areas. The Recycling Partnership reports similar results from its recent survey of programs in Washington, Oregon, and California.
But the Great Pause has shown that when people stop commuting and flying, significant changes in the environment can be seen. It’s proof that all our small changes can add up, the question is, will we embrace this opportunity to change as the world awakes after the pandemic? We have ideas to share about how to extend the short-term changes you make in response to COVID-19 beyond the end of the lockdown. Simple changes at home, such as using rags instead of paper towels, reducing your household food waste, and rethinking when and how to travel can contribute to postive changes. And we talk about the changing way people will work as society adapts to life without a coronavirus vaccine for at least 12 to 18 months.