Earth Day – R is for Recycling
So far in our Earth Day blog posts, we’ve discussed energy efficiency and alternative energy. Today’s topic is something that everyone can use in their daily lives, starting right away! Recycling is something that has a major impact on our planet for the better.
When you think of recycling you may just think about putting your empty water bottle or soda pop can into a different bin when you throw it away. It’s easy enough to do, but it signifies something so much more embracive and important.
Reducing the amount of garbage generated by your home is a key factor. If you’re using disposable paper towels, paper plates, plastic one-time-use cutlery, etc., consider switching out some of those items and eliminating some of the waste. Another key element is reusing things that don’t have to be disposed of immediately. For example, when I buy sliced turkey for sandwiches, some of the time it comes in a reusable plastic container, like the kind you could pack leftovers in. I make sure to wash them out and use them again. I generally have to buy containers like that anyway so it makes sense to get a few uses out of them before tossing them out. And when it is time to throw them away, I always make sure to put them in the recycling bin! There are other things you can reuse as well—plastic forks/cups, plastic grocery bags from the supermarket, cardboard boxes, etc.
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But now we come to the most important part: recycling itself. There are many, many items that can be recycled: plastic, paper, metal and glass are the 4 main categories, but within each category are an infinite number of different things that you most likely purchase and use on a daily basis.
It may seem like a small or tedious action to pay attention to separate recyclables but it is something that is really important for the planet.
Consider this: a plastic spoon (like the kind you might use while eating takeout) can take 20 or more years to break down and degrade in a garbage dump. But, recycled, that same spoon can be processed many times over to make other plastic items. What’s even better is that in most cases, remaking something from recycled goods can save up to 95% of the energy necessary to make it from scratch.
Simple Recycling Tips
To get serious about making sure you recycle as much as possible, it’s important to set up some kind of system to make it as convenient and easy as you can. Here are some simple tips you can use to do this:
- Set up a separate bag or bin next to your garbage can inside your home where you can easily sort the recyclables from waste. Or you can purchase a garbage bin that has a separate compartment for recycling.
- Purchase products that are already made from recycled materials and re-recycle them if possible.
- Make or purchase a bin to place old newspapers and magazine in. Keep a roll of twine right next to the basket so that you can easily bundle them up and bring them out to be recycled.
With some simple attention to how you get rid of trash and recyclable items, you can have a big impact on the planet. Making sure to reduce waste, reuse any items possible and recycle all glass, paper, cans and plastic items is a great habit to form this Earth Day!