By Stephanie Culp
image credit: witt.com
Hi everyone! I know there is a lot of buzz going around about the environment and what we can do to help it out. . . and whether or not it even needs help at all is a topic that offers a lot of debate on both sides. I’m here to offer my best recycling tips, tricks, and ideas—some of which I’ve learned myself from recycling here at home, and some that I’ve searched high and low for on the internet. Please enjoy them!
- Use outdoor trash cans! I purchased four large outdoor trash cans and liners to go in them. I have one each for cardboard, plastic bags, plastic bottles, and aluminum cans. This way I can store my materials without them being in the way, and because the containers are large, I don’t have to make as many trips to the recycling center, saving CO2 emissions at the same time! However, if you don’t have a large household or don’t discard that many things, small crates (like milk crates) would be a nice and attractive way to store recyclable materials.
- We throw out more than we realize! 84%....that’s how much of typical household waste that can be recycled. That includes food scraps, yard waste, paper, cardboard, cans, and bottles. Just think—if each of us recycled just 50%, we could significantly reduce the amount of waste heading to our landfills and incinerators each day, improving our land and air quality exponentially!
- "Biodegradable" doesn’t necessarily mean what you might think. In the quest to make the environment a better place, many manufacturers are looking at making their packaging biodegradable. It sounds wonderful, but what most people don’t know is that packaging doesn’t magically break down in a landfill. Biodegradable packaging needs to be taken to a composting facility, which keeps a proper temperature and moisture levels for long enough periods of time. In a landfill, biodegradable containers will probably sit there just as long as other plastics do, and some may end up releasing methane, which is worse than other greenhouse gases.
- Think about what you buy. When purchasing products, look for items that come with as little packaging as you can; there’s no reason deodorant needs to have a box. Try to buy recyclable containers. Those with a #1 or#2 logo on the bottom in the recycling triangle are the most widely-accepted plastics to recycle. Again, every recycling center takes something different, and should be checked with before making your haul down there.
- Check with your local recycling center! In Greensburg there is single-stream, curbside recycling so that makes things easy. Each community is different, but no matter what the situation is where you live, we hope you'll recycle as much as possible. Every little bit makes a difference.
Good luck and happy recycling!