We all know recycling is extremely important, we are loading landfills at a much faster rate than that of biological decay. Our population is growing, the amount of products being produced is increasing, therefore the amount of garbage is increasing.
The first line of environmental defense is to be part of the solution, not the problem: try to buy products with the triangular recycled symbol, stay away from purchasing products with a lot of packaging, especially materials that are difficult to recycle. Avoiding the purchase of packaged items seems nearly impossible, but we can lessen the waste we produce and encourage companies to change their packaging techniques by buying products with less, or resposible packaging.,
Most communities and businesses have made it very easy to recycle with recycling bins and hazardous waste pick ups. The hard part is figuring out if the non-obvious items are recylable. For example I had the question: Can I recycle a product box appearing to contain plastic, aluminum and cardboard? Well I called my local recycling company, Recycling Services of America, and their answer was yes, it may be difficult for the workers to pull the box apart, but they will do it. I was pleasantly surprised by this. They also answered my questions about their process. They are a collection and sorting station, and send the sorted recyclables to a company in North Carolina where they make Mc Donalds and Wendy’s products out of it. Hopefully this is transported by train! Call your local recycling agency and see how your products are reused! Below is a link to a Reading Rainbow video shoing the recycling process.
Recycling companies have made it easy when it comes to labels and cleaning items for recycling: it is not necessary to remove labels and you only need to clean enough to prevent odors!
Here are some examples of what is good and not so good to recycle:
Easy to Recycle: Paper, Plastic, Steel, Cartons, Glass, Aluminum Cans, and Foil. I will add a page to explain and breakdown these recyclable items more!
Harder to recycle: dental hygiene products, cling wrap (contains PVC causing hazardous fumes), CDs/DVDs, pill packets, bubble wraps and jiffy bags, silica gel, citris fruit netting, razor blades, kitty litter, broken plates, candy wrappers, product packaging, flourescent light bulbs, carpets, books, towels and fabrics, packing peanuts (source: DIYlife, resource.uk)
Household toxics like cleaning chemiclals and household appliances such as rechargable batteries, refridgerators, heat pumps, air conditioners, motor oil, car batteries, and tires should NEVER be thrown into a landfill. These items should be picked up by your local hazardous waste facility, or dropped off according to your local waste or recycling center.
Who knew Reading Rainbow was still around? Apparently it is and focusing on the environment! Did you ever wonder what happens after you fill your recycling bin? Check out this video which shows the process!