Sep 04, 2015

Ten Common Landfill Items that Are Recyclable Featured

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green items going to the wrong placeAs the population continues to grow, the amount of trash that we discard seems to grow even faster. In just one year’s time, we are now throwing away nearly a ton of trash per person. And we are only recycling about 30% of that. What a shame when we realize that it costs more to throw away recyclable items then to recycle it. The $30 it takes to recycle costs us $50 to ship to the landfills or $70 to incinerate. Here are 10 recycling ideas to help reduce our growing landfills.


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.




(2010) United States Recycling Statistics. Retrieved August 13, 2010

(2010) Commonly Recycled Materials. Retrieved August 13, 2010

(2010) What Can Be Recycled? Retrieved August 13, 2010

(2010) Image by Graur Razvan Ionut



  • Comment Link Tiffany Monday, 15 November 2010 18:34 posted by Tiffany

    This is a nice reminder. I, of course, remember the easy things like newspapers and soda cans. But, I don't usually give much thought to stuff like oil and packaging. It's tough to give up the convenient little yogurt cups and portion control cookies, though, for the larger packages that I know are more environmentally friendly.

  • Comment Link Melissa Andrews Friday, 07 October 2011 23:26 posted by Melissa Andrews

    Great article! I love the fact that you mention grass clippings, leaves etc as people don't realise that throwing this wonderful waste product = fantastic compost! Love your blog :0

  • Comment Link James L. Friday, 18 November 2011 05:13 posted by James L.

    Even better than recycling: precycling. Avoid creating waste by avoiding, for example, plastic water bottles. Study after study shows that most tap water is better for you than the bottled stuff, yet people continue to waste money and devastate the environment by buying bottled water. It takes a third of a bottle of petroleum to make and deliver a bottle of water. Would you like some petroleum with that Evian?

  • Comment Link Stephen Wednesday, 22 August 2012 08:59 posted by Stephen

    #2 - kilowatts is a unit of power, not energy. Did you mean kilowatt hours?

    #4 Here in Michigan, pop cans are worth a dime, and you can get a refund at nearly any supermarket, in addition to recycling centers. Dumpster diving is common at gas stations. Not many cans make it to landfill.

    Most cities in Michigan have recycling bins, and recycle glass, plastic, paper and metals. But curb side diving happens too. I put my dead hot water heater out for the trash, and someone came by and picked it up in under five minutes.

  • Comment Link Dwayne Friday, 31 August 2012 17:51 posted by Dwayne

    It's really a great bit of info. I am glad that you shared this.

  • Comment Link Ron Saturday, 27 October 2012 23:30 posted by Ron

    Have you ever thought about publishing an e-book or
    guest authoring on other blogs? I have a blog centered on the
    same topics you discuss and would love to have you share some stories/information.
    I know my viewers would enjoy your work. If you're even remotely interested, feel free to send me an e mail.

  • Comment Link Jerome Natale Sunday, 25 November 2012 15:03 posted by Jerome Natale

    We should recycle landfills.... This could equal some Cash.

  • Comment Link kayla Sunday, 30 December 2012 15:37 posted by kayla

    get body suits on and go to the landfills and collect everything that can be recylced

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