Recycling for Green Living

Reduce, reuse, recycle has been the mantra of the environmental movement for many years. Recycling is simply finding another use for our waste stuff. It is what happens after we have done all we can to reduce the volume of stuff we bring into our homes and business, and after we have reused the stuff as much as we can. Paper, glass, plastic, food, electronics, and our other waste can all have another life, can be reincarnated, if we can divert them from our regular trash flow. And it is an important part of green living.

recycle symbol
This will take some planning, and then some commitment. The first step is to find some suitable containers and locate them conveniently for your recyclables. Many forward looking communities help with that process by providing separate bins for paper, plastic, cans, and glass. If you are not so fortunate, then you will need to provide your own suitable containers. Make sure they are large enough to hold the volume you will produce between trips to the recycling center. If your containers are not large enough, you will end up with a mess that will quickly thwart your commitment. You are not helping the environment any more by making this harder than it needs to be!

recycle container
Once you have your recycling containers set, the next step is making a conscious effort to keep everything that can be recycled out of your regular trash. This will take some work at first, but it won't take long before it becomes an easy habit. Plastic milk containers - into the plastic bin. Newspapers - into the paper bin. Plastic soda bottles - into the plastic bin. Glass beer bottles - into the glass bin. Magazines - into the paper bin. You get the idea! Every time you pick something up to throw it away ask yourself if it can go into one of the bins. Once you get the hang of it, you will be truly amazed at how little real trash you have!

Before your containers get full you need to figure out where to take your recyclables. The paper will be easy, there are usually paper drop offs at many shopping centers and schools. The glass, cans and plastic will take a little more work (but not too much). Usually a call to your local waste disposal company will lead you right to the local recycling center. One of my earliest political memories as a young kid was of a guy named Sam Yorty who was running for mayor of Los Angeles on a platform of no more serarating our trash! That was in 1961, and we had mandatory recycling. We had to separate our cans from the rest of the trash almost 40 years ago. Of course 40 years ago Sam Yorty won - the residents of Los Angeles weren't quite ready for Green Living! We have come a long way in 4 decades - but we still have a long way to go. Make your recycling easy and it will quickly become a way of life for you.

Learn about recycling plastic here

Learn about recycling paper here

Learn how to compost and recycle your yard waste here

Reduce, reuse, recycle has been the mantra of the environmental movement for many years. Learn more at Easy Green Living

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