With America Recycles Day coming up on November 15th, what better time than now to get interested and involved in the wonderful world of recycling? Recycling essentially involves producing new materials from old materials. When we recycle, we don’t have to create as many new products. We can conserve natural resources such as trees used for paper and oils used for plastic, while protecting our world. As many are aware, an excessive amount of waste poses threats to the environment—for example, approximately 150 million metric tons of plastic circulate through oceans worldwide, harming marine wildlife!
Fortunately, recycling promises amazing benefits to the environment. Currently, the United States recycles approximately 35% of waste. However, up to 75% of waste in the country is recyclable. If we can work together to raise this number to its full potential, the improvement will be similar to taking 50 million passenger cars off the roads!
If everyone in the U.S. recycles one plastic bottle, this material could be used to create 54 million t-shirts.
If you’re just getting started, or would like to take your recycling game one step further, here are five straightforward tips for how you canto help keep our environment clean and beautiful for generations to come!
5. Plastic is not fantastic! Try to find reusable options as an alternative to plastics. When you go grocery shopping, bring tote bags to avoid the multitude of plastic bags. If that’s not an option, save the plastic bags and repurpose them as trash bags. Cut down on plastic bags and wrappers by purchasing reusable food containers, and choose a reusable water bottle over the single-use ones. Say no to plastic straws.
4. Recycle water! When you’re using the shower or the sink, keep a bucket handy to collect the water. Later, you may use that to flush the toilet or hydrate your lawn or garden. Along with protecting the environment, you’ll be saving money on your water bill!
3. Learn to compost! If you have a garden, you can save food scraps and other waste to create a nutritious pile for your plants. There are some materials that work better than others, so make sure you do your research!
2. Get crafty! Do you have younger family members, or just really enjoy artistic activities? Ordinary household items can find new purpose in a fun, engaging arts and crafts project! The possibilities are endless, but here are a few examples. An empty egg carton can be cut and painted into cute bumble bees and ants. A cardboard paper towel roll can be decorated into a pretend telescope. You can even turn a plastic bottle into a bird feeder!
1. Be in the know! You might be surprised at how particular some recycling policies can be. To ensure that your paper, cardboard, plastic, or other waste products are taken to the recycling facility, you’ll need to take a few steps. Look up what is recyclable in your city, and what isn’t—- it varies across cities! Clean off any food or other materials before placing your item in the recycling bin (food-stained paper will have to go in the trash), and break down cardboard boxes. Separate mixed materials, such as a paper envelope with a plastic window. Take plastic bags to a separate drop-off location. If you’re not sure whether something is recyclable, trash it; having a non-recyclable item in the bin might mean that all the items go to waste.