By Clara Ruth West

While working alongside Hannah Lemieux, another Bundle staffer and the mastermind behind our sustainability campaign, “Going Green for the Gold,” we’ve done our research, learned more about sustainability and did a trial of several Earth-friendly products available at your local Target.

Through our research, I realized that I believed some myths about recycling and what it meant to be more sustainable. Here are some of the things I discovered, and I hope they can help change your mind about “going green.”

1.    Recycling is too expensive

FICTION – Chances are your hometown will pick up recycling for free or for a small fee. It’s also probably included in your trash pick-up fee that you’re already paying. Check out your local Public Works website to see what services are offered in your area.

2.  Recycling was not created for the purposes of reducing waste

FICTION – In the 1970s, cities had too much plastic packaging entering the waste stream and wanted that to change. In order to avoid regulation and potential banning of the plastic products they used, recycling programs were introduced so people could keep using their plastic products with a clearer conscience.

3. “Some products just can’t be recycled”

FICTION – Just because the city you live in won’t recycle items for you, there are tons of ways to repurpose items you might throw away. For example, you can use the cardboard box from your Amazon order to store photos and mementoes from your college years or use an empty Kleenex box to dispense plastic bags. This is called “up-cycling” and many people are passionate about finding more creative ways to do so. Check out this website for more ideas.

4. Trash will decompose anyway

FICTION – Yes, but don’t be fooled. It can take upwards of 1,000 years for certain plastic products to recycle. And glass takes even longer. Also, harmful chemicals are absorbed by the soil, harming ecosystems. Long story short – recycle. You won’t regret it. And chances are you’ll actually see the outcome of recycling in your own lifetime (not 1,000 years from now).

5. Recycling uses more energy than it saves

FICTION – On average, making products from recycled materials uses almost 50 percent less energy than making products from raw materials. While there is a lot of energy associated with the recycling process, it also takes a great deal of energy to take raw materials from the Earth. At the end of the day, recycling isn’t any more “draining” on the environment than the other products you use.

This only scratches the surface of the “myths” we have about recycling, but I learned that I really should have done my own research a long time ago.

Promise me this – next time you’re going to grab your groceries at HEB, think twice. Ask for paper bags or invest in a set of reusable bags. Recycling won’t hurt the Earth, so do your part!