Letter to the editor: Buy recycled to create a market

Recycling is in a crisis. China has stopped taking our mixed recyclables, which are often contaminated or contain trash that was put in the wrong bin. With the market shrinking, it’s hard to find a use for recycled items and many are ending up in landfills. We are pretty good recyclers here in Addison County — sometimes too good, putting things in the recycling bin that are not really recyclable. We are learning to be more careful. But there’s another whole side to the story: purchasing recycled products. That way we help create a market.

On Monday, Aug. 5, I took a bike tour of the several stores around Middlebury to see if they sold recycled products. Here’s what I found:

Hannaford carried “Seventh Generation” paper napkins, toilet paper and paper towels. “Seventh Generation” is a Burlington-based company that makes many types of recycled products of both paper and plastic. (Unfortunately, though, these items made up 1 percent or less of the shelf space). Hannaford also had kitchen trash bags with recycled content; the brand was “Nature’s Promise.”

Shaw’s had recycled toilet paper and paper towels by “Open Nature.”

The Co-op had recycled napkins, paper towels, toilet paper and facial tissue by “Seventh Generation” and “Field Day,” plus additional recycled toilet paper by “Green Forest” and “Natural Value.” They had recycled aluminum foil by “If You Care” and trash bags by “If You Care” and “Field Day.”

Walgreen’s (formerly Rite-Aid), Kinney, Marble Works and Greg’s had no recycled products, as far as I could see.

The One Dollar Market had one brand of recycled toilet paper, “Eversoft.”

Main St. Stationery had office paper made from 30 percent and 100 percent recycled fiber.

Some brands say they are made from certified wood products or bamboo, but that doesn’t provide a market for recycled paper, does it?

One thing I definitely noticed is that “Bounty” has an enormous share of the market. They dominate the store shelves and the special displays, and they advertise a lot. But here’s the funny thing: at Hannaford, a single roll of “Seventh Generation” paper towels cost $1.39/50 ft. A six-pack of “Bounty” cost $2.34/50 ft. and an 8-pack of “Bounty” cost $2.65/50 ft. Think you’re saving money by buying a huge package? Think again.

The brands that stores carry change all the time, but I remember both Shaw’s and Hannaford carrying more brands of recycled products in the past. Stores usually restock items that customers buy, and sometimes they will respond to requests. So I’m making a request now, and I hope more will join me: If you stock more recycled products, we will buy them.

Chris Robbins


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Addison County Independent

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Middlebury, VT 05753

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