A Recycling Guide: Simple and Straight to the Point

Source | Mali Maeder

Source | Mali Maeder

Recycling is the most remarkable ways you can help restore the environment. But according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, everyone recycles only 34 percent of all the waste that we create. Only 9 percent of plastic is used for recycling!

Those microplastics, like the beads found in those hand sanitizers, resulted in an estimated $13 billion dollars in losses from marine damage. Sadly if things don’t change, we are in for a rude awakening when the existence of plastics supersedes marine life in the ocean by the year 2050.

By doing your part with recycling, your small act can make a huge impact so that concerns like the marine ecosystems can be saved for future generations. Here are some other things to consider:

Research and Research Some More

If you’re not used to recycling, I would suggest implementing a simple activity that would make it easy for you and/or your family to participate in. Get involved with your city or towns' recycling system.

Look into your municipality and inquire whether if your area uses a single or multi-stream system. From this information, you will able to tell whether if you can put all of your recyclables in one bin or if you need to separate them. Most common recyclables are: paper, plastics and glass).

Material Recovery Facilities or MRFs prefer to keep garbage and non-recyclable materials to a minimum to prevent contamination. Each MRFs is different so inquire about the facility beforehand. So, it is crucial to read up on what is considered recyclable as it can vary from city to city.

When it comes to resources especially when I wanted to learn about recycling these old batteries I had lying around in drawers, I used Earth 911 to refer to the nearest store that can take properly dispose of them. Alternatively, you can call your local recycling department and inquire directly.

Let’s Dispel the Myths Too

One of the common misconceptions about recycling is that items that are not accepted on the curbside or through the public system are not recyclable.

Let’s take for instance, the plastic bags from your usual grocery run. These bags can be recycled and taken to an on-site collection box. Most municipal recycling programs require that supermarkets offer a “take back” program for customers.

In addition to the in-store collection boxes, some communities have designated drop-off bins for recyclable materials that serve the public. These bins are emptied on a regular basis and are thoroughly monitored for safety and cleanliness. If your neighbor does not have a program, start the revolution and get your community together to start a recycling program to consolidate the waste.

Most major supermarket retailers like Whole Foods accept different types of waste streams for recycling conveniently in the store. In addition to the brown paper bags, you can recycle plastic containers and pouches (PP #5) and water filters.

During the year, some stores hold annual recycling events for the uncommon recycling materials like electronics and denims. Contact your local major supermarkets and retailers to see what types of take-back waste programs you can participate in.

Encourage and Educate Everyone

Become an advocate and educate your family, friends and neighbors in your community about what to do when it comes to recycling. Taking the initiative as an individual can make a considerable impact to your community. Encourage those to become mindful about the trash they toss and consider the options of disposing trash appropriately.

There are so many resources out there and is available all at your fingertips. One of the sustainable programs I signed up for is called the Grove Collaborative. This company offers a monthly customizable subscription of eco-friendly and safe household products from well-known brands all delivered to your door.

What drew me to this program was the fact that their team carefully inspects every product and the sustainability morale it is committed to. Since joining such programs, I felt encourage to live a greener lifestyle that actively participates in recycling and I highly recommend others to do the same!

Spreading the word and fostering a motivating attitude can bring the community closer; even getting the kids involved is just as important. Doing so can bring us all closer to mindful greener way of living so let’s consider leaving this planet sustainable for the generations ahead of us.