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All About Recycling

Nov 15, 2021
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November 15 is America Recycles Day. The United States Environmental Protection Agency or EPA recognizes recycling’s contribution to the protection and prosperity of the environment. In fact, a study by the EPA found out that 681,000 jobs in the US or $37.8 billion in wages and $5.5 billion in tax revenues are related to recycling or reuse activities for one year. Recycling in the United States has gone up from 7 percent in the 1960s to a whopping 32 percent today. Needless to say, recycling makes a huge impact on society, repurposing the past, providing jobs at present, and helping preserve the environment for the future. The day is to remind everyone of the importance of recycling not just on the day itself but also as an activity for the whole year. You have to deliberately ask your local recycling provider what they accept to be placed in their recycle bin and make sure that yours are acceptable for that. Remember that the EPA accepts cardboard, metal cans, and paper for sure but plastic bags, electronics, and batteries are a major NO.
What is recycling?
We hear it often, but what is it exactly? As defined by Britannica.com, recycling is the recovery and reprocessing of waste materials for use in new products. “The basic phases in recycling are the collection of waste materials, their processing or manufacture into new products, and the purchase of those products, which may then themselves be recycled,” Britannica said. It lists iron and steel scrap, aluminum cans, glass bottles, paper, wood, and plastics as common materials that are recycled.
Why recycle?
Recycling results in a lot of benefits in society. The world has been dealing with its insurmountable waste problem since time immemorial. Recycling helps reduce the waste that gets sent to landfills and incinerators in the first place. It helps conserve natural resources including minerals, water, and timber. Since old materials are recycled, there is also no need to collect new raw materials to produce new products. Eliminating these processes helps save energy and lessen energy consumption. It helps save valuable resources and supports the American manufacturing industry. Moreover, it is good for the US economy because it creates and provides jobs for thousands of Americans working in the recycling and manufacturing fields.
Where is the best place to start?
The best place to start recycling is none other than in one’s home. The EPA suggests ways on how to recycle different areas of the house.
Garden
You may start with your lawn and garden. Learning how to compost at home will be a major plus. The first thing to do is create a compost pile consisting of food scraps, yard trimmings, and other organic wastes. This compost will increase the ability of your soil in the garden to retain water, avoid erosion, and free your garbage bins of organic materials that go to landfills. You may also save water by raising the cutting height of your lawnmower during the hot months of summer. This will make your grassroots shaded and cooler that will reduce weed growth and browning; thus, saving water. Start an initiative with your neighbors by opening up a sharing program that allows the communal use of large lawn and garden equipment including tillers and chainsaws. If you haven’t heard of the term “grasscycle,” now is the time to do it by leaving clippings of grass on the lawn when you mow. Landfills won’t have to store clippings that are doing their job of nourishing the soil with nutrients. One way is to also grow plants in your garden and donate them to community gardens, parks, and schools. In your fireplace, don’t throw the ashes away and instead, save them. These ashes can be cooled and mixed in the compost heap that you made. This would nourish your garden with the right nutrients.
Main Home and Garage
The next area where you can practice recycling in the house is the main house and your garage. Make sure to use insulation that is made of recycled paper, glass, and other recovered materials. Clean your garage. Have a pile of your current belongings---tools, toys, and furniture---to store and keep out of landfills. Store these in FlexiMounts wall shelves or ceiling mount type of storage solutions in the garage so that it’ll be easier to locate them when needed in the future. Make your lights more durable by turning off those that are unplugged during the day. It will also help in your ultimate goal of saving energy for the environment. Speaking of energy, if you were to buy disposable batteries, make sure to go for those with low mercury content. It’s still better to use and keep rechargeable batteries. For the pile of belongings that you are not planning to keep, organize a yard sale in your garage. Sell your preloved clothes, appliances, books, and toys for them to find new homes and have another life cycle. If you’re moving houses, you may also practice recycling. Instead of buying new wrappers, you may use old newspapers for wrapping fragile objects. Be choosy when picking the moving box you need. The highest content of recycled paper and bubble wrap containing recycled plastic would definitely be the winner. Packaging accounts for a lot of waste so make sure to recycle these boxes after you have settled in your new home. There are organizations where you can drop off unused boxes that may be of use to others. A friendly reminder is to get rid of non-recyclable items. You should prepare for household hazardous waste collection days in your neighborhood to hand them the paints, cleaners, automotive supplies, and other hazardous items you have accumulated. Recycling can also be done when cleaning. Make sure to purchase reusable mops, rags, and sponges for your cleaning errands. Use only the amount you need from cleaning products and follow the directions in the bottle. You may also collect plastic bottles and start eco-bricking. Each plastic bottle would serve as an eco-brick, containing biodegradable waste stripped down to fit the bottle. These eco-bricks may be used as a wall, basket, and many more when given attention and proper funding.