Recycling has become a part of everyday life in many ways. It’s creating jobs, saving money, protecting the environment, and protecting our health. With recent innovative technologies, ways to recycle are always being improved on. But how can you and your family play a bigger part? Recycling is made easier at your home with curbside pickup programs, as well as separate disposal bins in public locations. Groups of recycling are mainly organized as Paper, Plastics, and Glass (as shown in the picture above). Below you will find some facts on recycling for each group and ways to be a more efficient recycler!
Paper – Facts:
- If every American recycled just one-tenth of their newspapers, we would save about 25,000,000 trees a year.
- The average household throws away 13,000 separate pieces of paper each year. Most is packaging and junk mail.
Paper – Improving Efficiency:
- Recyclable paper includes: magazines and catalogs, telephone books, direct mail, brochures, pamphlets and booklets, in addition to cereal, cake, chips and cracker boxes.
- Be sure to remove the liner and all food from the box, flatten the box and place flattened box in a paper sack with your junk mail, mixed paper, magazines and catalogs.
- Non-recyclable paper includes tissue, waxed and carbon paper.
Plastic – Facts:
- In America, we generate 10.5 million tons of plastic waste per year with only 1-2% being recycled.
- It has been estimated that recycling, reuse, and composting create 6 – 10 times as many jobs as waste incineration and landfills.
- Recycling plastic saves twice as much energy as burning it in an incinerator.
Plastics – Improving Efficiency:
- Remove plastic tops from the plastic containers being recycled and rinse containers with water.
- Crushing containers will help save space while storing them.
- Prepare plastic containers for recycling by ensuring first that they are either: (PETE), (HDPF), (PVC), (LDPE), (PP), (PS), or (Other) which include squeezable syrup and condiment bottles and some microwave food trays. (These identification codes are often on the bottom of the plastic container encircled by three chasing arrows.)
Glass – Facts:
- Glass is 100% recyclable and can be recycled endlessly without loss in quality or purity.
- Recycled glass can be substituted for up to 95% of raw materials.
- Recycled glass is always part of the recipe for glass, and the more that is used, the greater the decrease in energy used in the furnace. This makes using recycled glass profitable in the long run, lowering costs for glass container manufacturers – and benefiting the environment.
Glass – Improving Efficiency:
- Prepare glass containers for recycling by rinsing out with water.
- Labels on glass containers do not have to be removed because they are removed during the crushing process and/or burned off during the melting process.
- Avoid breaking the glass and mixing broken colors together as this may make the glass unacceptable for recycling.