Sunday, July 1, 2012

Why Yes, You Can Recycle That!

Nothing gets under my skin more than people who don't, or should I say won't recycle. For one reason or another they say it is too much work. Now I will admit that I make more of an effort to recycle than the average person does, but once you start recycling it just becomes second nature.

Common excuses I hear are:
  1. I don't have time
  2. I don't know what to recycle
  3. The city recycles for me
Number 3 has got to be my favorite - let someone else do it.  

Although you can buy a variety of containers for your recycling, they really are not necessary to do the job. Making your own bins to separate paper, plastic, cardboard, cans, bottles, newspapers, etc is quite simple. Rather than use plastic bags, that will just be thrown away, to collect your aluminum cans and plastic bottles try a reusable shopping bag. The handles make it easy to carry them down to your car and to the recycling center.

I personally do not use paper or plastic bags, but when Dylan's school stuff came home in a brown paper bag I reused it. The paper bag makes the perfect collecting spot for plastic containers, soup cans, and egg cartons that can be recycled. It only takes a few seconds to rinse out the containers and tear off the can labels.

Newspapers, magazines, junk mail, cardboard boxes from food - just stack them up - no container needed.

My recycling wall. 
Now the city I live in does provide recycling trash cans, so this is where I put my stack of newspapers and other paper products. Cans, bottles, and plastic I take to the recycling center once a month. 

OK, for those of you who answer with number 3 from above - the city recycles for me. Well, so does my city. However, if you read your cities web page you will probably find something along the lines of what my city's web page says.

In compliance with the State-mandated recycling goals, the City contracts with CR&R to transport all City-collected solid waste to a materials recovery facility (MRF) where the waste is sorted. The MRF is uniquely designed to separate and recover recyclable materials from unsorted (commingled) household waste. This process eliminates the need for additional containers and separate collection pick up normally associated with residential recycling programs. Even though residents are not required to separate their recyclable, you are encouraged to seal wet refuse in bags to prevent contamination of newsprint. (from the City of Newport Beach web page)

As you can see, only the recyclable goods that have not been contaminated can actually be recycled. To save the newspaper, you are asked to seal your wet trash in a plastic bag. 
Doesn't using a plastic bag defeat the purpose of recycling?

Now that I have you thinking about recycling, let's go one step further. 

Have you heard of TerraCycle? If not, you have now. TerraCycle is the answer to all things you didn't think could be recycled. Personal care and beauty product packaging previously just thrown in a landfill can now be recycled through a TerraCycle brigade. So my shampoo bottles, lotion tubes, and makeup containers go in a bin instead of the trash can. Once I have enough to fill a box, I will send them to TerraCycle (free with their prepaid shipping label) and I can have the money donated to a charity of my choice or I can redeem points for products made from the recycled packaging. It's a win-win situation. The same applies to my bin of GoGo squeeZ applesauce packages. 

My recycling area is next to my trash can so it doesn't take any extra effort. I go to the same area with trash and my recycling. The best thing is that I only take out my trash once every two weeks because 90% of what I use can be recycled. 

Now that you now how easy it is to recycle, that recycling doesn't cost you any money, and that YES, you can recycle that ... I'm giving you a challenge.

I challenge you to start recycling one new thing during the month of July. If it's cans and plastic bottles great, but think outside the box and start recycling something that you don't get money for. After all, the point of recycling isn't just to get money ... we recycle to reduce the impact of landfills on the environment. 

Are you up for the challenge? What will you start recycling this month?

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