5 Easy Recycling Tips for DUMMIES

by Anne Staley
(Camden, New Jersey, USA)

I have always maintained that humans are capable of more intelligence than they demonstrate at times. We are all aware of what’s good for us and what’s not, yet our actions speak otherwise sometimes. When it comes to recycling, my belief becomes even stronger.

There’s no reason for people to not be aware of the benefits of recycling or the perils of not recycling in this day and age. Yet, one look at their overflowing trash cans and you wonder if its ignorance or plain foolhardiness that makes people throw their waste without thinking.

Do they not know what happens to the waste they have so generously generated? Are we not aware of the harmful impact of incinerators and landfills – the two most conventional waste-disposal methods – on our environment?

It’s possible that they haven’t heard the environmentalists cry themselves hoarse over the damage we’re doing to our planet by trashing our waste like we do, but what about celebrities? Everybody listens to celebrities and there is not one, but many of them leading the way so far as recycling is concerned.

Then why don’t we recycle as much as we should?

Recycling made easy

Having spent some time on the subject, I came to the conclusion that for many people recycling seems like a big chore. I know separating and sorting trash and placing it into different bins is not people’s favorite weekend activity.

But when you consider how much you’ll be contributing towards making this planet a healthier place to live in, it will seem like a small sacrifice. Besides, many cities have now introduced a single-stream recycling system that allows all the acceptable recyclables to be placed in one single bin.

There, problem solved!

Or is it? I understand it’s not as easy as that, so I have put together these five easy recycling tips that will help you get started:

1. Learn about your city’s recycling program. Every city has unique recycling initiatives and you need to be aware of them. Depending on whether your city follows a single-stream or multi-stream recycling system, you can set up your bins accordingly at home. Make sure the bins are labeled properly and kept out in the open. You should also know the garbage collection schedule of your city, so you put out your recyclable trash in time for the pickup.

2. Reuse as much as you can. While there are several benefits of recycling, it still leads to some amount of greenhouse gas emissions. You know what causes absolutely no greenhouse gas emission? Reusing. So, reuse your plastic jars and tin cans as storage boxes; newspapers can be reused for gift-wrapping as can the big brown bags; reuse the blank side of computer printouts. You can also reuse or recycle some of your household waste to create beautiful little treasures. Learn more about transforming your trash to treasure on websites like Pinterest.

3. Do you know that you can make a quick buck by selling your metal scrap? Yes, all those cables, wires, window frames, soda and beer cans, hangers, etc. can be sold to private recyclers like SIMS Metal Management. They have recycling facilities in Redwood City, CA and a couple of other cities in the state.
Not only do these recyclers accept ferrous and non-ferrous metal scrap, but they also buy electronic waste, white goods, and end-of-life vehicles. The metal is then processed and sold to manufacturers as recycled feedstock, thus conserving both energy and resources. It’s a win-win situation!

4. There’s a lot of focus on composting organic waste, so learn the art of backyard composting. According to the U.S. EPA, food scraps and yard waste make up 20 to 30 percent of the total waste we throw away. If we start composting it instead, we can prevent it from being landfilled and provide our soil nutrient-rich natural fertilizer. You can add dead leaves, branches, twigs, food scraps, grass clipping, coffee grounds, tea leaves, etc. to your compost pile. Learn more about home composting here.

5. Become environmentally more responsible. Recycling is the right start, but it’s not the end. You need to start adopting more green practices like saving electricity, fuel, and water; buying organic produce and items made from recycled material; donating your old clothes and electronic appliances to charitable organizations instead of trashing them; supporting environmental causes and participating in events like America Recycles Day!

Once you start on the “road more green,” you’ll realize it’s not as difficult as you made it out to be and may be overtaken by an urge to kick yourself for wasting all that time…just saying!

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