QA with Patty Moore of Moore Recycling Associates

Hand placing plastic bottle into blue recycling bin

Patty Moore talks a lot of trash. She’s been involved in recycling since 1983 when she got her start working at a recycling center in New Hampshire. She founded her own recycling consultancy in 1989, Moore Recycling Associates to help businesses, governments and communities handle waste management issues.

Patty said she originally got involved in recycling because it “was a job,” but it soon became a life long passion to help do her part to save resources and energy.

Patty talks to Plastics Make it PossibleSM about the current state and importance of recycling:

Why is recycling so important?

Because it helps us conserve resources and energy, and it’s something all of us can do every day to help make a difference.

Are any particular parts of the country better recyclers than others?

There is no question that California collects the broadest array of plastics – more than 63% of California residents have access to curbside recycling for ALL plastics bottles and containers, which is great. California is leading the country, but the rest of the States are catching up!

Why is plastics recycling so confusing?

I think it’s confusing for people because the education on how to recycle hasn’t always been great. People also tend to try to use the resin code on plastics as a guide to figure out if they can recycle it or not, which is a mistake. Recycling is a complex process, but it doesn’t have to be confusing. Everyone needs to follow the directions of your local community – educate yourself and find out what can be recycled in your community. Not all recycling facilities are “single stream” (meaning that all recyclable materials can be thrown in one bin curbside and then will get sorted at the facility) so you need to figure out what you can and cannot recycle in your community.

Do you have any suggestions for people looking for ways to recycle more of the everyday plastics they use?

I think the easiest thing for people to do is save plastic film (thin, stretchy plastic material used to make bags and wraps) and bags, and take them back to the grocery store for recycling. All those bread bags and toilet paper wrappers should go back to the stores for recycling. For more information check out

What advice do you give to offices or businesses looking to set up a recycling program or improve the waste disposal programs they already have?

The best advice I can give to anyone trying to start a recycling program anywhere is: have a recycling bin next to every trash can. It sounds so simple and it is. This ensures that people will actually throw their recyclables in the bin.

What is one thing every American can do to help reduce their impact on the environment?

Reduce your consumption. I know that this sounds as if you have to give up something to help the environment, but it really doesn’t. Instead of hopping in the car to go somewhere for quality time with the family, plan activities that you can do at home together. A great example I heard recently was about two neighbors who decided to go in together on a new lawn mower – they both use it when they need it, but are saving money and reducing their combined consumption.

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