Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Cheap & Easy Recycling

Recycling can be easy! Here are some ideas on how to make recycling second nature.

1. If you have recycling pick-up, make sure you understand what can and can't be recycled in your area. We actually have pretty strict rules about how things must be separated. Our neighbors got in trouble for their sloppy recycling!

2. Set up a place to hold your recycling. We use trash cans. The kitchen is a good place to keep your recycling, because that is where most of your recyclables will come from.

3. Make it as easy to recycle something as it is to throw it away. For me, this means extra recycling bins throughout the house. We have a place for newspapers, one recycling bin by the computer, and two bins in the kitchen (one for paper products and one for bottles and cans).

4. Sort as you go. We have a lot of bins to make it easy to recycle, but also because each bin is basically for a different type of recyclable material. There is still sorting to be done on recycling day, but it's a lot less than if we just threw everything together all week long.

5. Recycle your plastic bags at home or at the same grocery store where you shop. Use them to line your own trash cans or take them back to the store for recycling. Bags recycled at the store are made into plastic lumber! (I learned this from Country Home.)

6. Recycle batteries at electronics stores. This is a hard one for us! You can take rechargeable batteries for electronics to drop-off recycling bins inside many stores, including many locations of Best Buy, Staples, RadioShack, Verizon, Lowes, Target, Office Depot, and Sears. (Call before you go to make sure that your location has a bin.)

It's easy to understand why recycling is green (less waste in landfills, materials being reused instead of taking more of the earth's natural resources, etc.), and those reasons are enough to make recycling worth it. But can recycling also save us money? In some cases, yes.

When I was young, my mom and I would collect and save aluminum cans and take them to a business in a nearby town. They would pay .11 per pound of aluminum, or sometimes even up to .35 per pound. Recently I saw a marquee advertising another shop's buying rate for scrap metals, so these places still exist. Another way recycling can save us money is through creating less garbage. If you pay for trash collection, having less trash can save you money.

My goal for this week to improve in this area is to get another designated recycling container of some kind into our upstairs bathroom. Right now the recyclables just sit up there making things messy and are often thrown away because I always forget to bring them down to the proper bin. I will change my ways and make it easy for me to recycle by getting a bin upstairs. What is your recycling goal for this week?

Happy Recycling!
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