Published:  02:21 AM, 03 April 2020

How to recycle more

How to recycle more

Erin Doman

Statistics show estimates that nearly 100,000 pounds of waste will be created from your very being over your lifetime, creating a substantial impact on environmental issues such as landfills, energy conservation, contamination and the diminishing of resources. Recycling is a practice that can be implemented in your day-to-day life that can help you maintain a green home and reduce your negative effect on the earth. Here are nine recycling tips to help you out.

1. Baby steps

Once you make the decision to recycle, do not feel as though you have to jump in 100 percent. While passion is a wonderful thing, placing too much pressure on yourself to go green can result in stress and frustration during the learning process. Give yourself permission to start small.

Learn about one aspect of the process and implement it, making it a habit for you and other family members before moving onto the next step. By taking baby steps, you are more likely to integrate recycling into your lifestyle permanently.

2. Reduce and reuse

While it may not seem like part of recycling, reducing the amount of materials you use and reusing items instead of tossing them can assist in your recycling endeavors. Limit the amount of objects needing to be thrown in your bins and you will avoid being inundated by recyclable goods, helping you stay on top of the situation.

3. Know what can be recycled curbside

It is easy to overlook items that can be recycled or to get confused as to which goes where. You should check with your service provider for specifics on your particular program, but here are basic guidelines.

Paper and Cardboard:

Paper of all sorts is acceptable, including books, flyers, magazines, junk mail, and colored paper. Avoid waxy papers. Cardboard can be recycled as long as it is not saturated with food and grease, as is common with pizza boxes. Remove liners before recycling cereal or other food boxes.


Most recyclable plastics have the numbers on them, often on the bottom, and one through seven are usually accepted. Many disposable utensils cannot be included, unfortunately, due to the low quality blend of plastics used. If you can easily crumple the plastic, such as with a baggie, do not include it in your recycling bin. Plastic bags are not accepted curbside, but your local grocery store may collect them.


In general, all aluminum cans are accepted for recycling. Rinse out liquids, especially sodas and juices, in order to avoid an onslaught of bugs to the area. If you are tight on space, you can crush the cans.


Most glass containers can be recycled. Rinse them prior to placing them in the bin and avoid breaking them. If glass shatters, it can't be recycled since the mixing of different colors can contaminate individual batches.

4. Have a bin in every room

Ask the majority of recycling families where their bins are and you will likely receive a resounding collective of "in the kitchen". Unfortunately, many of the other rooms become neglected, allowing perfectly recyclable materials to end up in trash cans.

Place a bin in the bathroom to collect cardboard toilet paper rolls, empty product containers, pill bottles, and packaging. In the office or craft room, you can collect printer paper, bottles, old files, pamphlets, and flyers. The bedroom provides, amongst other items, product containers, to-do lists, and magazines.

Do not forget the garage where you not only have items such as jars, bottles, and project waste, but items that come with you out of the car once you have parked such as glass bottles and cans.

5. Recycle old appliances & tech products

With the massive amounts of technology in the world today, the landfills are brimming with defunct computer systems, cellular phones, televisions, printers, and more. Instead of ditching your obsolete tech toys into the trash can, call your local electronics store to see whether they provide a recycling option.

Many electronics stores will actually take back certain items and provide a credit, or can put you in touch with companies to assist you. The manufacturer of many products also accepts unwanted items that can be refurbished or used for parts.

For many old appliances, it may be dangerous to simply discard in the trash. This is especially important for fridges and freezers that were manufactured before 1995, as they may have a type of insulation (CFC-11) that can be destructive to the environment. To help you dispose of these appliances in a safe manner, the EPA has created the Responsible Appliance Disposal (RAD) program. Please visit this page on their site to find a RAD partner in your state.

6. Recycle water

Before you let your used water swirl down the drain, find ways to recycle it in and around your home. You can go as simple as pouring the water from cooking pasta directly into a flower bed, or you can make changes to your plumbing to allow you to utilize greywater.

Greywater is the water throughout your home that has been used for a single purpose such as bathing, cleaning dishes or washing clothing. This water can be recycled to support your lawn and garden, keeping your landscape fresh and green in a less wasteful manner.

7. Recycle food

Recycling food is more commonly referred to as composting, but it is still a form of the process, nonetheless. Organic matter is the greatest source of methane emissions and, unfortunately, landfills are bursting with it. According to the United Nations Environment Programme, an average of nearly 20 pounds of food is wasted each month per person, helping to make organic waste the second largest component found in landfills.

Composting at home can be done in a do-it-yourself bin, or one purchased for indoor or outdoor use. If you have a large amount of food waste, though, check with your city to see whether you have the option of curbside pick-up specifically for organic waste. Commercial compost facilities usually accept plant-based goods, dairy items, and meat. If you are composting in or near your home, you might want to stick with plant-based items in order to reduce the smell and avoid attracting animals to your yard.

The writer is a freelancer

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