An Easy Guide to Recycling

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One of the simplest ways you can help save the planet is to start recycling – or recycle more, if you already do. Here is a quick, handy guide to recycling.

While there are hundreds of ways you can live more sustainably and reduce your environmental footprint, recycling is one of the easiest ways to make a real impact. While it may seem like simply sorting your trash into a recycling bin doesn’t really make that much of a difference in the grand scheme of things, the truth is, we produce billions of tons of trash every year, and a mere 34% of it gets recycled in the U.S., including only 9% of plastic, of which 129 million tons ends up in landfills across the globe every year, while 10-20 million tons end up in the oceans.

So yes, recycling does make a real difference, and you can help cut down on waste by doing your part. Make a resolution this Earth Day to start recycling now, if you’re not already, and if you are, make an effort to reduce your plastic consumption in other ways, or look into other ways of reducing waste, such as composting your kitchen and yard waste.

Here are a few tips to recycling more effectively – or getting started with it in the first place:

How to recycle effectively…

Recycling all the time may seem like a tall order if you’re not used to it, but participating in this regenerative, green activity is as easy as you make it.

Getting acquainted with your town or city’s recycling system is a good place to start. First, look into whether your municipality uses a single or multistream recycling system. Basically, this dictates whether you can put all of your recyclables (i.e., paper, glass, plastics) in one bin, or if you need to separate them…

It is also important to read up on what exactly is recyclable in your area, as it varies city by city… Earth 911 is a fantastic resource for looking into what is recyclable and what isn’t in your local community. You can also call your local recycling center to ask them directly.

Myth busting

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It’s a common misconception that the items that are not accepted curbside or through a public system are not recyclable. While most municipal curbside recycling programs do not accept plastic bags of any type, certain states mandate that supermarkets, grocers, and retail locations offer in-store “take back” programs for plastic bags and must provide on-site collection boxes for customers.

Supermarket retailers like Whole Foods and Mom’s Organic Market accept a variety of waste streams for recycling in-store. In addition to plastic bags, you can bring your batteries, corks, water filters and PP (#5) plastic (yogurt tubs, drink and food pouches and take out containers) year-round. Plus, items like denim, electronics, and holiday lights are accepted at special annual drives. Specialty stores like Staples and Best Buy also host national take-back programs for e-waste, a growing waste stream in today’s world…

Spread the word

Be aware of all the resources available to you. TerraCycle‘s free, brand-sponsored recycling programs provide an easily accessible option for difficult-to-recycle items like energy bar wrappers, performance nutrition packaging, post-consumer oral care products, and even old toys….

…Encourage those around you to think before they toss and consider their other options before tracking an item for landfill. If you have children, get them involved too!

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Read more at MindBodyGreen.com

 

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