Everyone knows that recycling refers to the process of taking items that are old, broken or discarded and transforming them into items that are new and usable, nevertheless, every year heaps of recyclable items are naively thrown into the landfill. These items are either collected and incinerated or left there to slowly and unnaturally biodegrade, corrupting and intensely polluting the environment.
The main reason why more concerned people aren’t recycling is because they are unsure of what is recyclable and where to recycle them. It is a fact that almost everything that we use on a day to day basis can be recycled in one form or another. However, not all recyclables are made equal; finding out the how to and where to will make the process of recycling that much easier.
How to Start Recycling:
The easiest way to start recycling everything that can be recycled is to designate an area in your home strictly for recycling. This area should be clean, dry and away from small children and animals. Your recycling space should contain up to five labeled bins for collecting your salvageable materials.
What Items can be Recycled:
Recycling goes way beyond the popular paper, aluminum and glass, in fact, the recycling space is massive, encompassing items such as electronics, clothing, furniture, plastics, grass, food scraps, CDs and DVDs, bulbs, ink cartridges, rubber, paint, hazardous matter, automotive, Styrofoam, metals and a whole lot more. The most effective way to find out exactly what is recyclable in your area is to visit a trustworthy source such as earth911 and search by item or by zip code.
Curbside recycling is the most well-known form of recycling collection. Regulated by the government, curbside picks up salvageable items such as paper, which includes junk mail, newspaper and cardboard. Curbside also accepts glass, aluminum and plastics numbered 1, 2 and 3 depending on your area. Although varied from city to city, curbside collection is usually picked up on the same day as regular trash pick-up. To get started, you may have to contact your local waste management.
The plastics that we use on a daily basis to do things such as store our groceries and microwave our foods are all coded with a number from 1 through 7. But, not all of these plastics can be easily recycled; plastics numbered 1, 2 and sometimes 3 can be recycled with curbside. Plastic numbered 4 are usually grocery bags that can be returned to the grocery to be recycled. The plastics numbered 5 through 7 are harder to recycled, however, certain number 5 plastics can be sent to independent organizations such as Preserve gimme 5 for recycling.
eWaste refers to electronic items such as computers, printers, tablets, cell phones, TVs, microwaves, fans, dishwashers and other such electronics. Items such as these should never be trashed, electronics contains materials that can leach into the groundwater and soil and pose extreme toxicity to the environment. Recycling electronics refers to either refurbishing or breaking down and reusing parts in new applications. Research online to find a electronic recycling center or program near you.
Donating items such as clothing, working electronics, furniture and toys is a great way to recycle. Doing so will extend the life of the product and cut down on your waste.
Composting is the method of recycling grass clippings and food scraps into nutritious and healthy mulch that can be used for organic landscaping and gardening. A successful compost must contain carbon and nitrogen matter as well as moisture and ventilation. Items such as grass clippings, coffee grounds, vegetables, fruits, egg shells, shredded newspaper and leaves can be housed together and broken down into mulch. An easy compost bin would be a medium sized plastic storage bin with ventilation holes drilled in all over.
Here is a great illustration and guide from the Green Education Foundation on the Do’s and Dont’s of composting:
There are many benefits to recycling; doing so will drastically cuts down on landfill waste and reduce the use of virgin materials in commerce. Recycling can also save you money, as you will be buying trash bags less often. Recycling everything that is possible is the only real way to encourage a future that is clean and healthy.
What do you and your family do to when it comes to recycling?