Few can deny that drastic measures need to be taken in order to preserve our environment. We all may not be able to give up our cars and walk or bike everywhere nor can most of us afford solar panels for our roofs and live “off the grid”. Recycling
is one change that we can all make that has a significant impact on the environment right now.
When it comes to recycling, Americans have a long way to go. The EPA estimates that 75 percent of what we throw away could actually be recycled. Guides on what can be recycled can be found on most city government website and pamphlets can be picked up from your local utility company.
While the EPA has reported that recycling diverts roughly 70 million tons of trash from landfills, that figure could be much higher if unrecyclable material was kept out of recycling centers. A small amount of the wrong type of plastic can ruin a melt, undoing all of your good intentions and those of fellow recyclers.
Here are some common household waste items that cannot be recycled and are actually better off going out with your regular trash according to the Evergreen Industries Consumer Recycling Guide:
- Broken glass
- Rubber bands
- Wet, dirty or moldy paper
- Plastic types #3, #4, #5, #6 and #7
- Plastic bottle caps
- Napkins and tissues
- Fast food wrappers
- Aluminum foil
- Neon paper
- Waxed paper
- Milk cartons
The Consumer Recycling Guide also has tips to make your recycling easier. You do not have to take the time to remove labels and bands from cans and bottles. These will be easily removed at the recycling center.
It is also not necessary to fully clean cans and bottles before dropping them in the recycling bin. Cleaning them just wastes water. Only clean them enough to prevent odors. A quick rinse should do the trick.
Paper envelopes with plastic windows are perfectly acceptable to recycle. Make sure they are clean and dry before bundling them up with your other paper recyclables.
Following these rules can make you feel even better about recycling and reducing your impact on the environment. One other fact that will make recycling that much sweeter; according to the EPA, recycling 10,000 tons of waste creates 36 jobs where landfilling the same amount only creates 6 jobs.
Just think, by recycling the correct materials, not only are you helping the environment but you are making the jobs of 36 people that much easier!