Recycling Tips for Beginners

Recycle, reuse, conserve, biodegradable, and eco-friendly are words commonly put to use these days. In an era when the human race is attempting to repair damage to the ozone layer, reduce the mass of landfills, reduce the pollution levels of air and water, alter carbon footprints, and make the most of our natural resources, information on how to help save the planet is all about us.

As a whole, many positive changes have occurred to make the recycling process easier for communities. Some towns have recycling projects so that glassware, newspapers, cardboard, and other easily recycled products are placed in color coded bins that are placed at the edge of the road and collected weekly in addition to regular trash pick up. Some counties that do not have the convenient option of at-home-pick-up for recyclables have recycling centers where citizens can deposit their recyclable products. At times, typically around Earth Day, some towns have recycling drives, an encouragement for everyone to separate the recyclable products from the regular household trash and an incredible visual regarding the mound of recyclable materials often thrown away with the regular trash and wasted. Options for recycling are varied and often convenient for single individuals who have only a few items to recycle in addition to larger groups and businesses that recycle larger quantities of items.

Yet, for all of the information and all of the opportunities, many people still do not recycle. Some of those who do not recycle believe that the tiny amount that they would recycle simply would not make a difference. But, it will. In recycling, every cereal box, each aluminum can, every newspaper or piece of junk mail, every plastic milk carton or plastic water bottle can make a difference. For a simple experiment to obtain a visual of how small items add up fast into large mounds of products, simply collect the household newspapers or the junk mail for a week or two or collect the plastic water bottles that have been consumed. Then, consider that same amount of recyclable products in homes across the local community. The amount is staggering.

Many people who do not benefit from the at-home-pick-up recycling projects, may not know where to begin. First, call the local county Department of Solid Waste or the local Chamber of Commerce; either should have information regarding the location of recycling centers in the local area. Also, check the yellow pages. Sometimes recycling centers that purchase recyclable products are listed under recycling. In addition to addresses of recycling centers, the Chamber of Commerce or the Department of Solid Waste should have information available regarding what products are accepted at the recycling center, how to determine what is recyclable and what is not, and information regarding the hours of operation.

Next, start small, and remember that it is better for the environment to recycle some products than no products at all. Until developing a recycling habit, begin with something as simple as newspapers and junk mail, collecting them and taking them to the recycling center regularly. Perhaps use and reuse a sturdy cardboard box or an old plastic bin that has been laying around the house to serve as a collection bin for the paper. Once that seems natural, begin collecting the aluminum cans and glassware (i.e., jelly jars, mayo jars), dropping them off regularly at the recycling center. Once the process feels natural and a routine is developed, continue until all recyclable products make their way to the recycling center. One will be amazed how little household garbage they have once some of the recyclable products are eliminated from the garbage can.

Recycling requires no experience or expertise and no purchase of special collection bins or specialty items; rather, it merely requires a bit of forethought, planning, and dedication. It is a process that is free, and it is a process that can help to heal the environment.

Hopefully, the future will be a time when all communities simplify recycling with at-home-pick-up of recyclables. But, until then, a bit of organization will help the recyclable products begin their journey to becoming another product that will be used and then recycled by its caretaker.

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