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  • Top 20 Home Recycling Tips

    Recycling has become one of the most critical home and office practices in modern societies today. Fifty to sixty years ago, we were all thinking about the next big thing to make life easier, from plastic bottles, disposable plates, spoons, and cups, to larger items like home appliances.

    Unfortunately, most of these utensils and appliances need certain natural resources to be manufactured. This means making use of new natural resources to make even more consumer products, instead of preserving these natural resources and habitats for the future. No doubt, recycling is one of the kindest gestures to our world as we know it, to the other living things that inhabit the Earth, as well as the future generations to come.

    While the benefits of recycling go above and beyond conserving raw materials and habitats, more people, homes, and families have to willingly agree to make that extra effort to save the Earth one step at a time. If you don’t know much about recycling, this would be an excellent opportunity to learn about how simple it is and how to go about it.

    For homeowners who are familiar with some recycling hacks, find out how much your efforts are benefiting the environment, as well as some helpful tips to switch-up your recycling efforts.

    Why is Recycling Important?

    Recycling has been a significant discourse that has agencies, environmentalists, and probably anyone who loves the Earth talking. With natural resource depletion, loss of biodiversity and deforestation being one of the major environmental problems today, it’s noticeable that these three factors stem from over-manufacturing and waste disposal.

    When we choose to recycle, we are greatly helping a cause to significantly reduce the environmental problems caused by continuous mining, manufacturing, and forestry, among others. Not many think it’s necessary to recycle. They are probably not aware of the numerous benefits simple recycling strategies could reap. It doesn’t merely stop at protecting the Earth; her natural resources and habitats, but protect and preserve human life as well.

    If just 20% of the population choose to recycle, it would not be as helpful as up to 60 or 70% actively reusing and recycling waste materials. With more forests being cut down, rivers diverted, and wildlife being displaced or harmed simply for manufacturing new products, it’s needless to say that recycling is one of the only ways to reduce these damages significantly.

    There’s also air, water, and soil pollution to deal with; dumping refuse materials either in the water or in landfills goes on to pollute the water and land. Plus, water pollution doesn’t just affect the rivers and seas, but also marine life. In effect, recycling resources help wildlife, marine life, and human life while preserving our natural resources.

    What Are the Benefits of Recycling?

    Every day, scientists, business people, government officials, down to the informed individuals, are trying to figure out ways we can develop better ways of living to protect and preserve the ecosystem. Recycling is at the forefront and is one of the most popular movements to reduce air and water pollution as well as waste disposal issues.

    Beyond these two factors, there are other significant benefits to recycling, which we’ll explore below

    Resource Conservation

    The Earth’s population isn’t what it used to be some decades ago, and is set to increase in years to some. That means industries and factories have had to triple their consumer goods to match the needs of a growing population. As you know, products aren’t made from nothing. Most of our furniture, appliances, and utensils are made from raw materials and natural resources that are essential parts of the ecosystem.

    What’s more, when we recycle, certain materials like glass containers, plastic bottles, and the rest are turned into new products instead of being thrown away. If people decide to keep buying new products without recycling, manufacturers are forced to continue stripping the Earth of vital natural resources. These raw materials are essential to ensure the survival and continuity of natural habitats for the sake of the future.

    Saves Energy

    There wouldn’t be much rattle about recycling if manufacturing used up little to no energy and resources. In fact, it’s quite the opposite, when factories and various industries are manufacturing new products, more energy is required to extract the raw materials, refine them, transport them, and process them.

    What’s more, factories ensure these raw materials go through a vigorous process before the final industry-ready product can be distributed for sale. This includes using a lot of waste during the procession, as not everything is used during manufacturing. Recycled materials require a lot less energy because they are using finished-products. This also reduces costs, transportation, as well as the refining process as opposed to processing raw materials.

    Protects the Environment

    The Earth is ours to enjoy, but most people simply think of exploiting it consistently. Yes, our lifestyle is very dependent on the Earth’s resources for survival, from the clothes we wear, the food we eat, and even the houses we live in. Yet, if we want to continue reaping from its bountiful resources, there have to be some necessary cut-backs and personal sacrifices made.

    The manufacturing process relies on a lot of extraction, refining and processing of natural resources to make final products. If these processes don’t rip the Earth of its resources or tamper with natural habitats, then it pollutes the air, Earth, and waters even more. Recycling helps to reduce these harmful damages that inconsequently help to deal with climate change, pollution, and more.

    Reduces Landfill

    What happens with recycled materials is that, instead of dumping all unused containers and products in the bin, those materials are placed in particular bins for re-processing or reuse. When garbage bags are picked up by garbage trucks, they are taken to specific areas to be disposed of. These landfills are most times overfilled and produce methane emissions, which is a potent greenhouse gas. These dangerous emissions can cause illnesses like and worsen health conditions like asthma.

    Top 20 Home Recycling Tips

    As mentioned before, recycling is quite easy once you start practising it, plus the benefits are profitable, making the efforts a small sacrifice compared to it. Most people don’t realise how simple it is to recycle, and this is probably the reason why they refuse to recycle. With the right tips and tricks, more people would be able to join in this recycling movement and make the environment around them safer, not just for this generation but for the next. Without further ado, here are some beneficial tips on how to recycle at home.

    1. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

    If there was an official motto for a recycling movement, it would be these three words; reduce, reuse, and recycle. They are actually known as the three ‘Rs of waste management arranged in a hierarchical order. The first ‘R,’ which stands for Reduce, suggests that people should reduce the amount of waste stacked up each day.

    Reuse, on the other hand, suggests people should use certain products as many times as possible before finally throwing them away. Then Recycle advises that we make use of recycling bins as much as possible. In some areas and on many streets, recycling bins are provided with labels on where to trash glass materials, cardboard, aluminium products like soda cans and plastic materials like bottles. It’s simple, before throwing certain waste materials away, first take into consideration whether some of those things can be reused or recycled; in this way, you’re reducing the total amount of refuse going into the disposal bin.

    2. What Can I Recycle?

    The best way to start recycling is to ease into it, and at the same time, find out the waste materials that can and cannot be recovered. In the initial excitement of contributing to a worthy cause, many have often been found recycling the wrong stuff. Still, don’t worry, it’s not necessarily hard to remember the items that should be recycled and the ones that should go straight to the trash can.

    At first, it may seem like they are a ton of rules to keep in mind, which could be discouraging, but there are ways to get on top of your recycling game. There’s one thing that’s important to note before recycling certain items, different states and cities have different procedures on waste recycling. That means some things that are acceptable in a town may not be in another.

    To ensure you’re following the city’s procedures, please check the municipality’s website before proceeding.

    Here’s a list of some of the items that can be recycled in most cities:

    • Plastic bottles
    • Cereal or snack cardboard boxes
    • Magazines and mail paper
    • Newspapers, cardboard and office papers
    • Tin containers, aluminium, and steel cans
    • Glass food containers, bottles or jars
    • Glass soft drink cans and beverage bottles
    • Wine and liquor bottles

    Items that shouldn’t be recycled:

    • Plastic shopping bags
    • Styrofoam
    • Bubble wrap
    • Aerosol Cans
    • Mirrors
    • Clothe hangers
    • Medical needles
    • Paper towels
    • Clothes (can be reused not recycled)
    • Flammable liquids
    • Treated wood
    • Plastic toys

    Items that can be conditionally recycled:

    • Cleaning products: Cleaning products that are packaged in plastic containers can be recycled if the box is completely empty.
    • Untreated wood: Can be recycled in some cities.
    • Ceramics: Some waste recycling programs could accept ceramics, but most of them don’t because ceramic materials could contaminate other glass products when recycled.
    • Cardboard: For example, pizza boxes usually have some leftover bits stuck on the board like cheese or grease, which could make it unrecyclable. These cardboard boxes should only be placed in recycling bins if it’s completely free of food.
    • Power cords: Power cords can be recycled, but not all of the parts. So it’s better to take them to a recycling centre that recycles electronic materials.

    As a quick tip on recycling plastics, if they can easily crumple in your hands, then they shouldn’t be included in the recycling bins.

    3. Purchase Recycled Items

    Purchasing recycled products, as opposed to new products, has very many benefits. Recycled products are products made from materials that have been re-processed from a waste recycling centre. By purchasing these items, you’re not simply saving money on a purchase, but reducing landfill disposals and pollution as well.

    You’re also supporting recycling centres and agencies that have paid workers sorting and re-processing recyclable waste. Plus, the production of recycled materials takes less energy and resources, thereby causing a less negative impact on the environment.

    Usually, a Mobius loop on the product helps you know the percentage of recyclable materials it was made from. The product may also have information on whether or not it is recycled, and if it can be recycled again. The more companies notice people are buying recycled materials, the better. This could actually swing more industries into investing in recycled materials instead of making new products from fresh raw materials.

    4. Recycle Your Food Waste

    The first thought after you hear the words ‘recycle your food’ may not be the most pleasant to imagine. Don’t worry; it’s a lot less gross than you think. Recycling food mostly concerns using food waste as compost for plants. Sadly, one of the most significant sources of methane comes from organic matter.

    Landfills are brimming with spoilt food every day, which decomposes very badly when left to rot with other materials. What’s more, recycling food can be tricky. The neighbourhood would need a kerbside pick-up truck coming through at least twice a week. For homes that throw relatively small portions away, a DIY bin can be made for such purposes.

    The best type of food items to place in such bins are mostly plant-based foods, dairy meals, and meat. On the other hand, if you have a garden or flower beds around the yard, plant-based food items can be placed on them as compost; this reduces the after smell that could result from this process.

    5. Recycle Your Garden Waste

    So, weeding, trimming, lawn mowing, and mulching are already tedious tasks to carry out, and now you’re being asked to recycle that waste?! Well, how do we put this nicely? Yes!

    You see, garden waste can be transformed into mulch, and practically be returned to the source it originally came from, the Earth. Also, garden waste, which includes tree barks, flowers, leaves, branches, fruits, twigs, weeds, and plants can be reused in personal gardens, or taken to a ‘local garden waste recycling point’ where it can then be taken for processing at a facility.

    These facilities take the garden waste and remove all elements that are not compostable, and this process actually takes out the stress of sorting through the waste yourself. What’s more, adding compost to the soil around the house gives it more nutrients, enhances the soil structure and facilitates better plant growth.

    6. Think About Packaging When Shopping

    Some supermarkets are taking the bull by the horn and financing more eco-friendly ways to recycle plastic packaging. For some, this means asking customers to return used plastic bags after emptying the contents at home or returning with the said bags when they need to shop again.

    For others, this means buying mostly products with recyclable packaging from industries. This reduces the carbon waste and production of new plastics. Most of these bottles and containers usually have a description on the bottle indicating materials used in production had been recycled.

    7. Use Less Paper or Recycled Paper

    Just one tree could provide enough oxygen for three people to breathe, but every day, more trees are either stripped of branches or cut down for wood processing, paper production, and more. What’s more, homes and offices that decide to use less paper would be doing the forests a lot of good.

    This can be done by printing on both sides of the paper, thinking before using each piece, making use of digital platforms like typing on phones, laptops and the likes instead of using paper. Better still, you could opt to buy only recycled paper, it may not be as clean and fancy as a newly produced one, but it would be serving a great cause.

    8. Indoor Colour-Coded Recycle Bins

    It’s not easy easing into a new habit, at least not without intentionally setting yourself up to do so. In this case, this could mean getting old recycle bins and painting them different colours or buying variously coloured bins from a store. For families with kids, you could write up a colour code that represents what should be thrown in each bin.

    For example, plastics could go in the green bin, while glass goes in the blue one, and so on. You could even add some fun to it and include the kids in the exercise if they are old enough. It’s a fun way to bond and teach them about recycling at the same time.

    9. Recycle Greywater

    Greywater is lightly used water from sinks, showers that are recycled into reusable water. Such a system doesn’t just help more homes recycle water, but cuts water usage in half, and maybe even reduces those water bills. The system works by diverting water back to washing machines, dishwasher or maybe even your yard.

    It’s less gross than it sounds. All the water is directed by a pipe into a tank, which holds the water for a while before redirecting it to a treatment system. Greywater should not be sourced from toilets or kitchen sinks.

    10. Donate What You Don’t Want

    The times when people held on to multiple keepsakes has finally come to an end and for a good reason; to save the world!

    As it has been established before, not all items can be recycled, and some items that can, don’t necessarily have to be. Simply giving out books, old furniture, neatly used clothes, or kitchen appliances could reduce the need to throw them away. They are charity shops that collect neatly used items like clothes and toys for kids, and there’s a lovely side to it as well. You’d be putting a smile on someone’s face, as well as saving the environment, one step at a time.

    11. Swap Plastic Bottles

    Buying throw-away bottles increases the number of plastic bottles that either need to be thrown away or recycled. Scientists have suggested easier ways to use less plastic recycling collections or refuse by buying other alternatives. What’s more, you could also invest in bamboo bottles, metal bottles or reinforced glass bottles instead of plastic bottles.

    This way, they can easily be cleaned and reused for packaging instead of thrown away after use. The same goes for those disposable coffee mugs passed around in stores and sometimes, even at home. Swap them out for reusable coffee mugs and keep that plastic footprint on the low.

    12. Recycle Electric Appliances

    In the past, people simply threw out an old TV set, or damaged kitchen appliance with no other alternative disposal option to explore. Today, we can actually find local retailers that accept damaged appliances or contact the local waste recycling collection agency to pick up such items. This is a better alternative to throwing them out on the streets and leaving them to decompose in landfills.

    There are also opportunities to recycle laptops, find out about phone recycle centres and more. Most electronic shops would happily take beat-down appliances; they know exactly how to reuse them while minimally reducing waste in the process.

    13. Use Rechargeable Batteries

    Rechargeable batteries contain heavy metals that are actually dangerous to the environment when disposed of. However, single-use batteries pose an increased risk on the environment more than rechargeable batteries, which can be used again and again over a period of time.

    Even with this fact, rechargeable batteries are better recycled when dropped off or mailed-in to such recycling centres. Some countries actually prohibit the normal disposal of batteries because of their hazardous content, so it’s actually illegal to throw batteries away in those states anyway, which leaves recycling as the only option.

    14. Rinse Out Recyclable Waste

    Most waste recycling centres encourage every household to take the time to rinse out certain recyclable containers before placing them in the recycle bins.

    Some centres will not accept items that have not been suitably cleaned. This is because things like leftover food could decay on these items and cause unpleasant growth and smell. Most of such tins, aluminium and plastic containers simply need to be properly wiped off with a paper towel or cleaned under a running tap. Leaving such containers uncleaned may cause contamination, and some collection centres could reject that batch.

    15. Recycle Unwanted Clothes

    Do you know those old, torn or faded clothes that can neither be worn again nor given out? They can actually be recycled.

    After all, deciding to either reuse them by transforming them into rags or using them for arts and crafts projects is better than simply dumping them in a trash can. However, as stated before, clothes should not be placed in recycling bins. Instead, they should be taken to the nearest textile bank or donated to brands like H&M, which openly accepts such items.

    16. Buy Second-Hand

    Thrift shops have experienced a boom since people realised they could get really nice clothes at a much lower price. Now, it’s beyond just saving those extra bucks, and actually saving the environment. More and more celebrities and members of the elite class donate some of the clothes they never get the chance to wear, or have worn only once to charity.

    Some of these charities sell them off at reasonable prices to generate money for their cause. Choosing to get second-hand items would reduce the need to produce so many new items, and therefore serve resources and energy.

    17. Swap Cotton Wool Pads for Fabric Face Pads

    You probably weren’t expecting to see cotton wool pads on this list. They are incredibly soft, innocent and never hurt anybody. We hold no contention against cotton swabs, but simply against the process used as well as the natural resources exhausted during production. Cotton wool pads are single-use swabs that can’t be reused in any way.

    Instead of buying such products, opt for soft fabric face pads, they can be used to apply cleansers, are suitable for spot application, and even wiping off polish from the nails. Plus, these clothes can simply be washed after use in the washing machine, and don’t have to be thrown away after a single-use.

    18. Think About Storage

    Ziploc containers and plastic packs have been the go-to storage containers for many people over the years; they are convenient, easy to use and disposable. However, that’s exactly the problem. Most of these plastics are disposable after just one use as opposed to other containers made of more sustainable materials.

    There are so many options to explore. You could use mason jars for those healthy and tasty parfaits, salads and smoothies. Instead of plastic containers, you could also use glass or stainless steel food storage containers for leftover food, fresh veggies, fruits, and the likes.

    You might not have come across them, but there are also beeswax wraps. These are an alternative to foil or plastic wraps. These wraps can be washed after use and reused multiple times when storing food.

    19. Recycled Toilet Paper or Bamboo Toilet Paper

    At first glance, reading this may give you the creeps! But it’s actually better than it sounds. Recycled toilet paper is not produced from used toilet paper but from paper that has been used in homes, offices, schools, etc.

    Toilet paper produced from bamboo trees is referred to as bamboo toilet paper. Both these tissue paper options are available in local stores today, and each has different benefits. Bamboo toilet paper is more sturdy, soft, and cool because of the nature and texture of the bamboo wood. However, recycled toilet paper is more likely to prevent paper waste and reduce littering.

    20. Bamboo Toothbrushes

    Ever looked at your current plastic toothbrush and thought to yourself, ‘what a genius, useful invention’? Well, what if you discovered that there is a massive downside to this fantastic plastic tooth-cleaning tool? It has been revealed that plastic toothbrushes take over 400 years to degrade and, in the process, leak toxic chemicals into the Earth after disposal.

    Bamboo toothbrushes, on the other hand, are quite environmentally friendly since they are made from natural raw material (bamboo) and are therefore biodegradable. Plus, they look and feel good in the hands as well.

    FAQ

    What Is Recycling?

    Recycling is the process of collecting, breaking-down, processing, and then reusing materials that would otherwise be considered waste.

    What Does the Recycling Symbol Mean?

    It is commonly known that the arrows formed into a triangle on the surface of individual containers indicate that it is a recycling bin. In the middle of most of these symbols are numbers that represent what grade of plastic or other reusable materials should be placed in each container. For example, a number 1 stands for Polyethylene Terephthalate which includes plastic water or soda bottles, a number 2 stands for High-Density Polyethylene which may consist of milk jugs and detergent or household cleaning bottles, a number 3 stands for Polyvinyl Chloride which includes shampoo bottles and medical plastics, while a number 4 stands for Low-Density Polyethylene which includes bottles you can easily squeeze like condiment bottles.

    Where Does Recycling Go?

    Reusable materials are collected by recycling companies or by the city using trucks. They are taken to a materials recovery facility (MRF) where the contents get processed and recycled.

    Can You Recycle Tin Foil?

    Recycled aluminium is usually in the form of tin cans, but it is still possible to recycle aluminium foil as long as it is devoid of food residues like grease, sauce, or crumbs. This is because any food residues left on the foil could contaminate other materials being recycled.

    How Does Recycling Save Energy?

    When products are made out of newly used materials, energy is expended during the extraction and processing procedures. On the other hand, when materials are recycled and used to produce goods, the need for de novo materials is reduced, and energy that would have been used in the processing of those materials is saved.

    Sources

    https://www.recyclenow.com/recycling-knowledge/why-recycle

    https://friendsoftheearth.uk/natural-resources/7-benefits-recycling

    https://www.solarschools.net/knowledge-bank/sustainability/reduce-reuse-recycle

    https://www.insider.com/things-that-dont-belong-in-recycling-2018-4

    https://www.thebodyshop.com/en-us/about-us/packaging/e00009

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