If you want to do your part to help protect the Earth, one of the easiest ways to accomplish this goal is to actively recycle items that can be recycled. To get the most out of your recycling, however, there are a few things that you should keep in mind. In some cases, this involves thinking outside of the box and looking for items to recycle that are not typically included in the recycling conversation.
Know What Can Be Recycled
Oftentimes, people place items in the recycling that cannot actually be recycled. As a result, those items and possibly even additional items may find their way to the landfill when there might have been other options. Before you put out your recycling, check with the recycling rules for your area and become familiar with your town or city’s specifics.
Choose the Right Programs
Some recycling programs create more waste than they prevent. For instance, if items are collected and then shipped across the country for recycling, you may be creating more pollution with carbon emissions than you are saving through recycling. Look into programs to make sure they are genuinely beneficial rather than simply making you feel good about recycling.
Most people know about recycling paper, plastics and aluminum, but many don’t consider how they might be able to recycle their water. Rearranging your plumbing so that wastewater from your shower and tub is used to flush your toilet, for example, can help you get more use out of your water. If you use a biodegradable soap, you can even use leftover bathwater and dishwashing water to water your garden.
Many electronic gadgets can also be recycled, with many non-profit organizations collecting items such as computer parts and transforming them back into workable computers. Other companies help unwanted electronics find new homes by giving them to those in need. Major appliances that need repairs may also serve as a good donation to trade schools, repair shops or even hobbyists who might want to tinker with the item. Batteries can also be recycled, though the better option is to use rechargeable batteries in order to reduce the number of batteries that you need to toss away.
Give Away Unwanted Items
If you have clothes or other items that are still in good shape that you simply don’t need or want anymore, consider giving them away to charity or posting them on sites such as Freecycle and Recycler’s Exchange. Another option is to post the items in the “free stuff” section of Craigslist. Not only will this prevent the creation of additional waste, but you will also be recycling the item by helping it to find another home.
Of course, the best way to reduce waste is to make wise purchases. Purchasing items with minimal packaging will help to reduce your waste. On the other hand, purchasing items that are made with recyclable materials helps to ensure you will be able to recycle the packaging after you have opened the product. Thinking ahead when making purchases is a good way to reduce your overall impact on the planet.