We’re all familiar with the three R’s: reduce, reuse and recycle. But how much of these three things are you really doing at home on a daily basis?
While reducing, reusing and recycling are all very important, recycling is something that many people may not know how to do properly and efficiently. Below are five simple ways to get started on reducing your waste contribution to the planet.
Do your research
Before you do anything to start recycling more, make sure you find out what materials are accepted for recycling at your local recycling center. You can find the nearest facility by visiting Earth911.com.
Properly dispose of paper and cardboard products
From newspapers to old mail and grocery lists, paper products comprise the largest portion of our municipal waste stream.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found that easily recognizable paper products, such as writing paper or paper towels, can be made into many other products like masking tape, paper money, bandages, coffee filters, lamp shades and more. You can do your part in making sure your paper products are used for these purposes by recycling them.
Recycle your plastic products
Like paper, plastic can also be reused for many purposes. Plastic bottles can be taken to your local grocery store recycling center. If you use plastic grocery sacks when you go shopping, those can also be recycled. However, reusable bags are much more eco-friendly than using plastic bags each time you purchase something.
Reuse your glass products.
Old glass bottles and jars can serve many other purposes when reused. For example, an old glass coke bottle can become a flower vase, and an old glass jelly jar can be used as a pencil holder.
If you do want to dispose of your used glass, however, be sure to do it the right way: separate your container glass by color. You can usually leave the labels on the glass, but make sure you keep other glass materials like light bulbs and mirrors separate from container glass.
Metals and electronic goods should be disposed of with care.
Metals can be of value to recycling facilities, so make sure to recycle food cans, aluminum cans, aluminum foil and other similar metals.
When it comes to electronics – such as old computers – reusing those products is the most environmentally-friendly thing you can do. Whether reselling them or giving them away, keeping them from ending up in a landfill is always a good idea.
Jennifer Griffin, Contributing Writer and Public Relations, GreeningDetroit.com
Jennifer is pursuing a degree in Journalism and English from Wayne State University, and she is also a Contributing Writer for The South End.