Household Recycling

Although climate change is still an ongoing debate, the fact is that the Earth is getting dirtier. The air is dirtier, the water is dirtier, the land is dirtier.

Whether or not this pollution causes the Earth to grow hotter is a moot point. An issue most of us can easily relate to is this: who wants to live in a dirty planet?

And yet, every year, the amount of disposable cups and cutlery thrown away in the United States alone could circle the Earth’s equator 300 times. As for food, the average American individual throws away more than 1,400 calories per day. Wasted food composes around 18% of all materials going to landfill.

To lessen the burden on our landfills, we need to recycle right from the source of the waste: our homes. Here’s how to do household recycling:

1. Compost. This step alone takes care of our food waste and garden waste, which easily comprise around 30% of the materials currently going to our landfills.

Composting is not at all difficult and need not be stinky. There are a ton of guides you can find online to teach you how to make a cheap, easy, non-stinky compost bin.

An added bonus to composting is that you can then progress to creating your own mini gardens with the super-rich soil you’ve made. You can’t know how delicious fresh vegetables really are unless you’ve picked them from your own garden.

Now if you’re dead set against gardening, you could always sell the compost to a neighbour or on eBay!

2. Plastic recycling. There are often bins where you can put plastic in for recycling. An important thing to do, however, if you’re going to do household recycling of plastics, is to learn to read labels. All plastic containers should be marked with a clear recycling code. Make sure you keep the different types of plastics separate from each other, as mixing one type with another could spoil a whole melt batch. Also, don’t forget to clean your plastics before sending them for recycling.

3. Glass and metals. Unlike plastics, glass and metals you put in recycling bins do not need to be cleaned up so thoroughly. Just rinse them enough to prevent odor, and you’re done. (Saves water too.) That’s because the amount of heat needed to melt these things for recycling is high enough to remove all contamination.

Make sure, though, that the glass and metals you send in are clearly marked with a recycling symbol. Some companies have been making plastic or steel cans that look like aluminum, and recycling plants have been damaged by processing these cans.

4. Paper. When recycling paper, make sure it is clean, dry, and sorted. Do not mix white paper with newsprint, corrugated cardboard, phone books, glossy magazine paper, and waxed carton.

Waxed cartons (milk or juice containers), by the way, should generally not be sent to recycling plants as the plastic lamination they have can damage recycling plants.

5. Mobile phones. Of all the gadgets we own, mobile phones are the best candidates for household recycling as they are the gadgets we most often thrown away after a relatively short period of use.

For one, they get so much wear and tear as they are so often used. Then, too, there is a new, better model coming in every year – or month, and that brings down the prices of older models.

Mobile phones should never be thrown into the trash as they contain a lot of harmful substances: mercury, lead, and arsenic, to mention just a few. These chemicals may either leach into underground water or release toxic gases.

This is why mobile phone recycling is so important. It can be as simple as mailing your old phone to the recycler – and receiving your check a few days later! Now you have extra cash for that new phone, and you’ve done the environment a great good at the same time!