People have been recycling things for decades, but over time the process has gotten easier. Improvements in recycling technology have increased the number and the types of products that can be recycled. For example, it used to be impossible to recycle glossy paper like that found in magazines. This is no longer the case. Today, many municipalities around the world have renewed their focus on recycling to reduce waste and save important resources. Here’s how you can think green when it comes to recycling in your home:
One of the great things about using plastic is that it’s generally recyclable. Since plastics are composed of various chemical components, certain ones tend to be recycled more than others. Most recycling bins take plastic containers like jars, bottle, or jugs. The number on the bottom of a plastic container indicates the type of plastic used in its manufacture. You’ll need to check with your city’s recycling center to see which types qualify for recycling in your area. Check out this complete guide to plastic classifications and recycling.
One important rule concerning plastics is to make sure containers are clean. Plastic containers that still have food or waste in them can contaminate an entire load and make it useless for recycling. Plastic bags, like those used by grocery stores, should not be put in the recycling bin. Many grocery stores, however, do collect plastic bags and send them to recyclers that convert them into plastic lumber.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, paper products make up about 71 million tons or 29 percent of the waste stream. Fortunately, these days, more people are recycling paper, and over 63 percent of the country’s paper gets recycled. Practically any type of paper can be recycled. Like plastics, the paper needs to be clean. A pizza box can be recycled – but not if it has bits of pizza stuck on the inside. Clean it first and then put it in the bin.
Juice and milk cartons can be recycled. They are 80 percent paper and 20 percent polyethylene. The paper can be recycled to make paper towels, tissues and other products, while the polyethylene can be used to make furniture or paraffin. It can also be used to generate energy.
Recycled newspapers can be used in a process called “hydro-mulching” or “hydro-seeding” that is used in erosion control. The recycled papers are made into mulch mixed with grass seed, water and fertilizer and then sprayed over a large area.
Aluminum foil and various metal cans can also be recycled, yet Americans still toss nearly a billion dollars’ worth of aluminum cans into the landfill each year. Aluminum is especially important to recycled because it can be reused many times over. The process involves simply melting the metal down and then reshaping it into a new product. Some aluminum foil is made of 100 percent recycled material. Again, like other products, aluminum needs to be cleaned before it can be recycled.
So-called tin cans are primarily made of steel. About 71 percent of tin cans are recycled in the US, and they can be remade from 25 to 100 percent recycled steel. Recycling metal of any type reduces the need to mine more metal.
Electronics and Appliances
If you’re in the process of moving and find yourself looking to toss out old appliances, don’t take them to the landfill. Instead, these Austin movers recommend recycling them! There are many components of appliances that are easily recycled and put to use in the production of new products. Some local moving companies will even help you with moving and recycling these bulky items.
Best Buy provides one of the most comprehensive recycling programs for appliances and electronics in the United States. The company collects 400 pounds of recyclable goods per minute. Every store has collection bins just inside the front doors for smaller items. Customers may bring larger items to the Customer Service desk or call Best Buy to have them haul it away. Best Buy works with reputable electronics recyclers to properly dispose of hazardous materials and keep electronics out of landfills. The goods may be repaired and sold, recycled or repurposed.
Where to find a recycling center?
Many neighborhoods, apartments and condominiums already provide blue recycling bins. If not, the Waste Management, Inc. website provides a tool for finding a recycling center near you. Just type in your Zip Code and press the button. You will then be shown a list of recycling centers in your area.
Recycling is an easy way to help save our environment. Do your part and stay green by recycling your plastics, metals, paper, and appliances!