Statistics show that an individual will create nearly 100,000 pounds of waste in their lifetime. This has a substantial impact on environmental issues such as landfills, energy conservation, contamination and the diminishing of resources. Recycling is a practice that can be implemented in your day-to-day life that can help you maintain a green home and reduce your negative effect on the earth. Here are some great recycling tips, courtesy of Compact Appliance.
Once you make the decision to recycle, do not feel as though you have to jump in 100 percent. While passion is a wonderful thing, placing too much pressure on yourself to go green can result in stress and frustration during the learning process. Give yourself permission to start small. Learn about one aspect of the process and implement it, making it a habit for you and other family members before moving onto the next step. By taking baby steps, you are more likely to integrate recycling into your lifestyle permanently.
Reduce and Reuse
While it may not seem like part of recycling, reducing the amount of materials you use and reusing items instead of tossing them can assist in your recycling endeavors. Limit the amount of objects needing to be thrown in your blue bag and you will avoid being inundated by recyclable goods, helping you stay on top of the situation.
Know What Can Be Recycled Curbside
Paper and Cardboard:
Paper of all sorts is acceptable, including books, flyers, magazines, junk mail, and colored paper. Avoid waxy papers and construction paper. Cardboard can be recycled as long as it is not saturated with food and grease, as is common with pizza boxes. Remove liners before recycling cereal or other food boxes.
Most recyclable plastics have the numbers on them, often on the bottom, and one through seven are usually accepted. Many disposable utensils cannot be included, unfortunately, due to the low quality blend of plastics used. If you can easily crumple the plastic, such as a baggie, do not include it in your recycling bag. Plastic bags are not accepted curbside, but they can be taken to the Eco Centre, or most grocery stores.
In general, all aluminum cans are accepted for recycling. Rinse out liquids, especially sodas and juices, in order to avoid an onslaught of bugs to the area. If you are tight on space, you can crush the cans. And don't worry about removing the labels!
Have a Bin in Every Room
Ask the majority of recycling families where their bins are and you will likely receive a resounding collective of “in the kitchen”. Unfortunately, many of the other rooms become neglected, allowing perfectly recyclable materials to end up in landfill carts.
Place a bin in the bathroom to collect cardboard toilet paper rolls, empty product containers, pill bottles, and packaging. In the office or craft room, you can collect printer paper, bottles, old files, pamphlets, and flyers. The bedroom provides, among other items, product containers, to-do lists, and magazines.
Do not forget the garage where you not only have items such as jars, bottles, and project waste, but items that come with you out of the car once you have parked such as bottles and cans.
Recycle Old Appliances and Tech Products
With the massive amounts of technology in the world today, the landfills are brimming with defunct computer systems, cellular phones, televisions, printers, and more. Instead of ditching your obsolete tech toys into the trash can, call your local electronics store to see whether they provide a recycling option. Many electronics stores will actually take back certain items and provide a credit, or can put you in touch with companies to assist you. Many manufacturers also accepts unwanted items that can be refurbished or used for parts. Electronics are also accepted at the Eco Centre for recycling.
For many old appliances, it may be dangerous to simply discard in the trash. This is especially important for fridges and freezers that were manufactured before 1995, as they may have a type of insulation (CFC-11) that can be destructive to the environment. To help you dispose of these appliances in a safe manner, large appliances such as fridges, freezers, washers, dryers and dishwashers can be taken to the Landfill for recycling.
Before you let your used water swirl down the drain, find ways to recycle it in and around your home. You can go as simple as pouring the water from cooking pasta directly into a flower bed, or you can make changes to your plumbing to allow you to utilize greywater.
Greywater is the water throughout your home that has been used for a single purpose such as bathing, cleaning dishes or washing clothing. This water can be recycled to support your lawn and garden, keeping your landscape fresh and green in a less wasteful manner.
Every month, an average of 20 pounds of food is wasted per person, making organic waste the second largest component found in landfills. In Grande Prairie, we are lucky to run a Class II Bioreactor Landfill, which captures naturally-occurring methane gas from decomposing waste (food and organics) and converts into energy which is used to heat and power our Water and Wastewater Treatment Plants.
Food can also be recycled through composting. When organic matter decomposes, it creates a nutrient-rich soil conditioner which encourages environmental vitality and promotes waste reduction. Composting at home can be done in a do-it-yourself bin, or one purchased for indoor or outdoor use. If you are new to composting, check out these 7 Easy Steps to Composting, courtesy of the City of Leduc.
If you are recycling to minimize your carbon footprint, it makes sense to use the same principles when purchasing new items.
When you buy items made from recycled materials you are using your dollars to vote for greener business practices, letting companies know that products made in an eco-friendly manner matter to you. In addition, items that are made from recycled goods are likely to be recyclable again once you are finished using them.
Rinse and Repeat
It’s recommended that you always rinse out any items and containers prior to placing them into your recycling bag. Not only will this avoid contaminating the whole bunch with food and other residue, but this will also keep any pests, rodents or birds from poking around.
Take the time to understand how to integrate recycling into your lifestyle and use these recycling tips to get a solid handle on the practice, ensuring that being green becomes a lifelong habit.
If you have an item and you're not sure of how to properly dispose of it, check out our Where Does My Waste Go feature to find out!