Do you practice the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle? There are many benefits to practicing this mantra of recycling, but only if you’re doing it right. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) says that just over one-third of the things we toss in the garbage are getting recycled. Even more surprising is that those of us that are making recycling efforts are doing it right.
What Are We Doing Wrong?
We aren’t aware of all the things that can be recycled. We are throwing things in the trash that could be recycled and we don’t even know it. By taking the time to do some research, you’ll find that many of the things you’ve been tossing can be recycled. Some examples:
Crayons, egg cartons, cardboard from packaging can all be used by the art department in schools. If you don’t have children in school, stop by your neighborhood school and offer your recycling items. Budgets are tight for schools and they will be more than glad to take that stuff.
Other things that you may not realize are good for recycling are appliances, mattresses and ink cartridges. Aluminum foil from pie plates and trays, holiday lights, wine bottle corks and water filters can also be recycled. Search the internet for sites that can give you a full list of things to recycle – you may be surprised!
Did you know that the bottle caps we’ve been told to remove before putting the container in the recycle bin are recyclable now? The caps from your soda bottles and water bottles are usually made from polypropylene plastic and the technology we have today can now take those items that are marked by the number 5. Check your city’s local recycling center and ask if they are using that newest technology or not.
Your Pizza Box Isn’t Wanted
A lot of us have though that all cardboard is recyclable. However, those pizza boxes usually have food and grease stains which only ruins the recycle batch they end up in. If you aren’t using totes for your grocery shopping yet, those plastic bags aren’t recyclable in the sense of putting them in recycle bin. They get the sorting machines jammed so either keep them to reuse them for the next trip or take them back to the store. Most stores today have recycle bins for those bags. Keep your shredded paper out of the recycle bins too. They cause problems for the machines just like the plastic bags. You’ll do better putting your shredded paper in a compost pile
All Plastics Aren’t The Same
Those numbers you seen on plastic containers actually mean something. Several websites have definitions that can help you determine what plastics can and can’t be used in recycling. And check this list from time to time because as technology advances, this list may change.