Tips to Recycle Efficiently in Your Home
An EPA report in 2017 revealed that Americans produced approximately 268 million tons of trash. Of these, 94 million tons went into recycling. On average, this is equivalent to 1.5 pounds of recycled and composted trash per person in that year.
Recycling is an environment-saving activity, and Americans can do a lot better if encouraged to do so. It may not seem much at the individual level, but the small little efforts add up to make a significant impact. While no one wants to spend time sorting plastics and paper or memorizing recycling symbols, recycling is vital to the environment and human life.
Recycling at home is possible, and I recommend creating a recycling system that makes recycling easy and fun. If you're wondering how to get started with recycling, here are some recycling tips to guide you.
Know What You Can Recycle
You might be surprised to realize that what you thought can be recycled shouldn’t be and vice versa. Or it could be that you’ve limited yourself to recycling paper and plastic bottles only. The truth is that there is so much around you that you can recycle.
Paper and cardboard should be on top of your list, but they should never be sticky, wet, or mixed with other types of material. Avoid envelopes that come with a portion of a clear plastic window, bubble wrap mailers, and sticky notes.
For cardboard pieces used to package food, ensure you rinse them out first before recycling. Other recycling materials include:
Plastic bottles and jugs
Clean, empty, and dry aluminum soda cans, foil, and tin cans
Glass depending on the type and its condition. Broken glass should not be put in recycling bins
Things not to recycle include batteries and electronics, foam, single-use utensils, paper towels and plates, and napkins. Plastic wrap bags and grocery bags, clothing, and shoes should also not be recycled.
Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
The first step towards recycling should be to reduce the amount of waste we create. Some great ways to reduce waste include:
Passing on plastic bags and using tote bags for shopping
Using a reusable water bottle
Using reusable food containers to carry lunch
Meal planning to reduce waste from takeout
Reusing food jars to freeze food
Donating or fixing broken items instead of trashing them
Small changes done consistently over a long time can create a significant difference in the environment.
Make Recycling More Convenient
To ease the recycling tasks you have to do yourself, create a home recycling center. It should have two parts, of which one is for the usual or regular trash you generate almost every day. This is waste that mainly comes from the kitchen, and the spot for this should be easy to access.
If you lack enough space, consider hanging strong shopping bags, say on the pantry door. Each bag should be for a specific type of waste. This will save you the hassle of sorting waste after collection. Alternatively, consider buying divided containers that allow you to separate the trash as you dispose of it.
When the bags or bins are full, move them to a storage spot away from the household stomping grounds. This is temporary storage as they await being dropped off at the recycling facility. The other recycling center should be for trash that doesn't pile up too often.
For added convenience, consider signing up for the services of a residential recycling company. A reliable facility will provide you with sturdy recycling bins to make your sorting process more manageable. Most of them also collect your recyclable waste from your curbside, so you don't have to struggle dropping it off at their center. They also provide value-added services like waste management and trash disposal for a more rounded approach to recycling.