Read these 12 Recycling Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Green Living tips and hundreds of other topics.
We know recycling is beneficial, but here are some facts (some may be startling) that may make you think seriously about the importance of recycling.
1. About 40% of the waste in the U.S. is paper, but nationwide we only recycle about 25-30% of our paper waste.
2. Americans throw away close to the equivalent of 30 million trees a year, just from newsprint alone.
3. In America we discard enough motor oil per year to fill 120 supertankers.
4. In the United States right now, landfills are filling up and closing at the rate of approximately 2 a day.
5. By recycling an aluminum can per day we can save enough energy to operate a television set for 3 hours.
6. A glass bottle thrown away today will still be there in the year 3000.
7. In the United States, one in every six trucks is a garbage truck.
8. You would be able to circle the earth 436 times per year with the Styrofoam cups that are used in the United States.
These statistics are accurate and valid; they help to illustrate the importance of recycling in the United States. Start taking an active role in helping your community recycle and better your environment and prevent global warming.
Are you looking for a new way to carry your groceries or a second use for your favorite concert t-shirt.
Simply turn the t-shirt inside out and stich along the bottom hem. Now turn that t-shirt back and cut along the arm holes. You now have a one of a kind grocery shopping bag that will put those plastic grocery bags to shame.
Recycled products are used to make other items. Newspapers, for example, can be used to make paper egg cartons, new writing papers, packaging and building insulation. Most communities have several locations with large metal dumpsters for newspaper drop off.
Steel food cans are recycled to make constructions beams, auto parts and appliances. There are steel scrap yards and certain companies that will take steel and other scrap metals; some may pay a small fee for the metal.
Aluminum cans can be recycled to produce new cans or even aluminum siding for houses. Some states have aluminum can machines that will crush the cans, weigh them and give you money for your cans.
Plastic bottles and milk jugs are used to make lawn furniture, plastic lumber and planting pots. Certain communities have programs where each household will have a specific bin to separate plastics from your regular trash.
Recycled glass containers may turn into decorative tiles, paving material or new glassware. Glass can be turned in at some grocery stores or there may be drop off points near your home.
These are just a few products that can be produced with recycled material and the resources are in high demand.
Grocery bags are recyclable items and most stores make it easy for you to recycle with drop off boxes right in the grocery store. These bags along with produce bags (plastic) can be effectively recycled and used for plastic lumber and other products. Recycling these bags not only saves energy, but it also cuts down on chemical out gassing, which results from new plastic products. So, recycle your old plastic grocery and produce bags and help your family and others “breathe easy.”
Recycling turns product waste into valuable resources and can generate financial, environmental and societal benefits. Some of the major benefits of recycling are:
A small effort to recycle can generate large returns for the environment, the economy and your community. Depending on the products your recycle and the value you might be able to earn some money in return for your recycling efforts (aluminum and steel are sometimes purchased by scrap yards).
Recycling saves energy because the manufacturer doesn't have to create the material from “raw” ingredients. Normally plastics, aluminum, paper and other recyclable material have to be produced from raw material. This means the raw material has to be harvested, extracted and processed, which is a very intensive process using high-energy consumption. By using recycled materials we save on energy consumption, which not only helps keep production costs down but saves on energy costs, too. In fact it is projected that in 2005, recycling will save 900 trillion BTUs, this is equal to the annual energy use of 9 million households. Saving energy now will help keep future costs down thus saving everyone money.
Did you know that electronics can be dangerous to the environment if not disposed of properly? If you have old electronics then you should find a company that will recycle the parts and dispose of them the right way so they are not polluting our environment. Many of the parts in electronic equipment contain hazardous materials such as lead, cadmium, lead oxide, barium and mercury. These substances can be hazardous to our environment if not taken care of responsibly. Search your phone book or go online to find a place to take old electronics and/or obsolete parts from computers, printers, and copiers, fax machines, cell phones etc.
The most common items that you can recycle from home are newspapers, other paper products, plastics, glass, aluminum and steel. Most communities have recycling programs and scheduled “pick ups.” You will have to check locally to see if there are pick ups available or certain locations for you to drop off recyclable products. Although the items mentioned above are the most common household products that can be recycled, there are also seasonal programs for yard trimmings such as leaves, branches and grass clippings. Some communities encourage their residents to use yard trimmings and food scraps for compost in their backyards; this in turn frees up space in landfills and benefits your soil.
If consumers demand recycled products then more will be produced. There are 4,500 + consumer products that can be made with recycled material. Here are a few examples of items that you can add to your shopping list to buy made from recycled materials. Newspapers Aluminum cans Cereal boxes Paper towels Comic books Egg cartons Trash bags Carpeting Motor oil Steel products When shopping for any of these products, be sure to look for the recycle symbol or and indication that it is made from recycled material. If you buy recycled items you will be playing a part in preserving the environment and you will be helping the economy by purchasing smart.
Chemicals used in our homes for cleaning, painting, fertilizing and automobile lubricating must be taken to a special location for disposal. Check with your local garbage company or recycling agency for drop-off locations. If these chemicals are thrown away in regular garbage cans they can contaminate water supplies and the air we breathe. Because of the dangers from chemicals in cleaning products, paints, oils, solvents and herbicides it is important for consumers to do their part. A good rule of thumb to follow is to only buy what you need and use what you buy, so the toxins won't have to be thrown away and you won't have to worry about disposal options.
Cars are essential for most individuals and that is why it is important for us to do our part when it comes to recycling items from our automobiles. There are three major things that are recyclable from your car: oil, tires and car batteries. These three things can cause major problems in our landfills if they are not disposed of properly.
It is extremely important to dispose of motor oil properly because of the dangerous toxins and the high probability of damaging and polluting the environment. The best option for motor oil recycling is to take it to local oil and lube shop that recycles oil. Transport the oil in a plastic, leak-proof container and make sure it is not mixed with any other fluids (if so make sure you tell the shop).
Most landfills charge a fee for tire disposal, but the benefits outweigh paying a minimal fee. If tires are improperly disposed they can rise to the top of landfills, transit disease when transported globally and breed mosquitoes. Your old car battery may be worth money, but if not a local shop will take it so it can be recycled or disposed of appropriately. If everyone follow the rules when disposing of automobile parts and fluids then our environments and other resources will reap the rewards.