Are you looking for ways to improve your recycling?
There are plenty of benefits to recycling that make it an attractive idea, from reducing the waste you produce and saving money on purchases. There are a few steps you can take to make your efforts even more effective. Try these ideas for some innovative ways to improve your recycling.
Return to the three R’s
Recycling is the thing that usually grabs most people’s attention but keeps reducing and reusing in mind as well. On its own, recycling is not enough. A good balance of all three principles plays a significant part in reducing the amount of waste destined to head to the landfill.
The first step is reducing the amount we consume and prioritizing high-quality products that last longer. Your next step is finding new uses for “waste” materials.
Rather than throw things out when it’s broken, check if they can be repaired or reused for another purpose first. Recycling comes last, so reserve recycling things as a last resort once you’ve exhausted every bit of utility from your items.
Always check with your local municipality to confirm what can be recycled.
Recycling doesn’t stop with you. The whole point of recycling is to cycle materials through the system, cut down on waste, and reduce the need to extract new materials. You feed the loop by practicing recycling yourself and supporting recycled products.
Recycled products are widely available, and they’ll be easier to find once you’ve made up your mind to buy them. Various items, ranging from paper to chairs, now have high recycled content, making it easier to go green.
When you’re keeping a sharp eye out for recycled goods, keep your eyes peeled for things you can recycle on your own. If you buy something packaged, think about how you can reuse the packaging yourself or return it to the store for later use.
Alternatively, when you buy new gadgets, prioritize models you can upgrade or cannibalize for parts. In case something gets broken, it’s much easier to repair or replace that model.
Avoid using garbage bags
At first glance, plastic bags look like a convenient way to gather all your recyclables together. However, plastic bags often get tangled in conveyors and sorters, slowing down the automated process. In many cases, plastic bags are treated as trash to avoid delays, regardless of what’s inside.
To make sure you are recycling responsibly, recycle your bags separately from the others. Many grocery stores and supermarkets often feature bins for collecting plastic garbage bags to be appropriately processed.
Refrain from shredding paper
Once upon a time, recycling centres had difficulty processing shredded paper. Shredded paper can be processed now, but it’s suggested to shred your old papers, except in case of sensitive documents. Recycling smaller pieces of paper can affect the quality of recycled paper. For quality’s sake, keep your paper intact when you put it in the bin.
Properly Recycle E-Waste
Rather than ditch your obsolete gadgets, check with your local electronic store to see if they provide recycling options.
A few manufacturers also accept unwanted items that can be refurbished or used for parts. Some companies also have programs to give your old toys new homes, often to senior citizens. Alternatively, you can take your obsolete electronics to local repair shops or trade schools so they can use the gadgets for practice.
Keep recyclables clean, empty, and dry.
When it comes to recycling your containers, remember to clean them thoroughly first. Food waste can contaminate your recyclables during processing in vertical balers, so rinse and dry your items to eliminate any leftovers. A good cleaning also removes any smells that might attract pests to your recycle bin and prevents them poking around the house where they’re not wanted. A good rule of thumb is to clean those materials well enough that you can use them again.
Reuse your water
Reduce, reuse, recycle is a philosophy you can apply to different areas in your life, not just concerning your trash. Consider looking into new ways to reuse your wastewater. The most straightforward method is using your leftover water from cooking pasta or vegetables to water your plants.
If you’re planning to go all the way, consider readjusting your plumbing so you can use your greywater to flush the toilet. Greywater is the gently-used wastewater from your tub, shower, sink, or washing machine. This water is often clean enough to support your lawn and garden, allowing you to keep your landscape green, naturally. For ideal results, stick to biodegradable soap, so wastewater stays safe for your plants.
If you know anyone interested in making art out of recyclable materials, you can offer to provide supplies. Kids are an excellent example of artists who can find a use for these leftover items. Paper tubes and rubber bands are good examples of recyclables, but you can also find uses for less common objects like oven doors for older artists.
You can also take this idea to the next level by suggesting to art teachers in your neighbourhood that they emphasize making art out of trash. While you’re at it, you can also recommend using more eco-friendly materials in class (e.g. recycled paper and biodegradable paints).
Turn to charity
Rather than throwing things away, try offering them to friends and family or donating them to charity. Give away some clothes that do not fit, boxes lying around the house, or cosmetic products that don’t suit your tastes.
Get the whole family involved
Finding ways to increase recycling awareness at home is an excellent way of getting more people around you to contribute to proper recycling. There’s no reason to stop at yourself when it comes to taking recycling seriously. One person can make plenty of difference, but you’ll get much better results if you get the whole family to do their part.
Help children recycle second nature to them early in life by placing the coloured recycling bins where they can see. You can even make it a game to make it more fun and engaging for your little ones. For everyone else, set up a dedicated recycling space, so everyone knows how to do it. Once you’ve made things simple and systematic, it’s much easier to improve recycling at home.