Recycling with Helen Lowman


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When it comes to recycling, it can be difficult to know what we can toss in that blue bin. Luckily, there are plenty of resources and organizations that can help us recycle properly. My guest today is Helen Lowman, President & CEO of Keep America Beautiful. Helen has had an impressive career (including working for President Obama) and is an expert on how we should be recycling in the U.S. Today, she’s giving us some background on the recycling industry, clearing up myths about recycling, and sharing her best recycling tips.

I remember Keep America Beautiful’s anti-littering campaigns from when I was a kid. Their efforts to beautify communities and educate the public about recycling often have a local impact. Helen stressed to me that approaching recycling on a local level is important because the way materials are recycled varies by location. Sometimes it feels like just one person can’t make a difference, but as Helen explains, we need to start small and these small actions add up. There is a lot to do if we want to close the loop on recycling, and we can all play a part.

Listen to this episode if:

  • You want to hear from an Obama appointee.
  • You care about keeping America beautiful.
  • You want to know more about what happens when you recycle a plastic bottle or a paper bag.
  • You are curious about how we recycle in 2019.

Key Takeaways:

  • 2:40 – How Helen went from the Peace Corps to Obama appointee.
  • 6:00 – Getting a job at Keep America Beautiful.
  • 9:30 – Helen busts myths about recycling.
  • 13:55 – The supply and demand for recycling.
  • 15:20 – How to close the loop on recycling.
  • 18:55 – Why China no longer buys American recycling.
  • 22:00 – Can we go back from single-stream recycling?
  • 20:00 – Paying waste pickers and the value of materials.
  • 26:45 – How you can improve your recycling.
  • 31:45 – Check out these recycling resources.

Episodes to listen to:


Connect with Helen:

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