10 Items to Recycle
#1: Among the materials you can find at home, glass is one of the most recyclable. It follows the closed loop process meaning that a glass container can be recycled into a new glass container over and over again. Recycled glass is also energy efficient since the process consumes 40% less energy than new production.
#2: From newspaper to cardboard boxes, junk mail to grocery bags, recycling paper products is beneficial for energy conservation, water efficiency and air quality, not to mention landfill space. Every ton of recycled paper reduces the production of virgin paper and energy use by 4000 kilowatts, water use by 7000 gallons, and pollution by 60 pounds. The extra 17 trees are an added bonus!
#3: Over 10% of our landfills is comprised of one small item: plastic bottles. Considering that the average US family consumes 26 gallons of bottled water, 182 gallons of soda and 133 gallons of milk and juice, recycling plastic containers is an important step to helping our shrinking landfills. The other option of incineration is even worse as the plastic chemicals get released into the environment.
#4: Before you throw that soda can, think about what the resources could be used for if only you’d recycle it. That’s 3 hours of TV the saved energy could generate or a half a gallon of gas. Before throwing a can in the trash or litter it in the environment, consider that an aluminum can will take over 500 years to deteriorate and we consume over 80 trillion cans of soda a year.
#5: Steel is recycled more than aluminum, paper and glass combined. With more than 1,500 food products sold in steel cans and more than 28,000 recycling programs, steel recycling is an easy option to implement.
#6: US consumers buy more than 3 billion dry cell batteries a year. With almost 90% of mercury in the Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) stream coming from dry cell batteries, it’s obvious that recycling batteries is becoming even more important. There are different curbside programs and recycling centers that collect recyclable materials and prevent toxic leakage into the environment.
#7: E-waste. Electronic waste, such as computers, cell phones and TVs, uses non-renewable resources to produce and may release hazardous substances into the environment if disposed of improperly. Some recycling centers also have a monetary incentive for the recycling of ink cartridges.
#8: Motor oil is another item that can be recycled. A single quart can contaminate 2 million gallons of clean water if not disposed of properly. A truly recyclable product, motor oil can be refined again and again.
#9: Leaves, grass clippings and other yard waste can be recycled as well. You can look into your neighborhood recycling options or compost that debris along with other food waste. The average American throws out over 1,000 pounds of compostable garbage a year.
#10: Although implied in a few previous categories above, packaging warrants its own section. It comprises a third of all landfills. The more we consume, generally the more packaging we generate. Choosing products with minimal recyclable packaging will help to reduce trashing our environment.
Now that you have a few suggestions of where to begin, there is no better day to start recycling than today. The environment will surely benefit from your efforts.