How to Start Recycling

April 21, 2020

As we celebrate Earth Day 2020, the fiftieth anniversary of the annual event, you might be wondering what you can do to help reduce your “carbon footprint” and make a substantial impact on keeping our earth’s diminishing resources safe.

Every human is responsible for creating nearly 100,000 pounds of garbage over a lifetime. As overwhelming as that may sound, there are steps you can take to reduce that, and one of the easiest ways is to recycle.

So How Do You Start?

The best way is to start small, and pick things you know you can achieve. Below are a few ideas for your foray into turning your home green.

1. Get a recycling bin for every room. Make it easy on yourself to separate recyclable items from waste that will go to a landfill. In the best-case scenario, have recycling bins for paper, plastic, and metal. Label them to make it easy to remember what goes where.

2. Go paper free. In today’s high-tech world, it’s never been easier to keep documents stored on external drives or in the cloud. Whenever possible, avoid printing on paper.

3. When you do print, use recycled paper, use both sides of the paper, and recycle it when you’re finished. Studies show that recycling one ton of paper can save 17 trees, almost 7,000 gallons of water, and more than three cubic yards of landfill space.

4. Buy rechargeable batteries, and when you are done with them, recycle them, too.

5. Look for recycled products when you shop. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, many of the products we use daily are made from recycled materials, including cereal boxes, beverage bottles, paint, tissue paper and napkins, copier paper, and floor coverings.

6. Reduce the amount of non-recyclable materials you use and reuse items instead of tossing them.

7. Contact your city and find out what can be recycled curbside. Generally, all kinds of paper (except waxed), plastic, aluminum, and glass can be recycled.

8. Recycle old appliances and technology products. Call your local electronics store to see whether they provide a recycling option. Many will take back certain items, and some will even give you a credit. If they don’t recycle products, they may be able to tell you who will. Many product manufacturers also accept used items that can be refurbished or used for parts.

9. Recycle water. Think creatively about using water more than one way. Water from cooking pasta can be used to water plants, and with some plumbing changes greywater used for bathing, cleaning dishes, or washing clothing can be recycled to water your lawn and garden.

10. Recycle food, otherwise known as creating a compost bin or pile. Visit our composting blog post for more information.