If you’ve ever gone back and forth on whether to dispose of a household item in the garbage or recycling bin, you are not alone. Many items can be recycled, yet most consumers are unaware of all of the recycling options available. Paper makes up nearly 30% of consumer waste, followed by plastic (13%), metals (9%), and glass (4.5%), and yet these numbers can be dramatically reduced when making recycling a part of your daily routine. Here are some different household items that can be recycled so that you can cut down on your waste footprint.
Due to the Mercury-Containing and Rechargeable Battery Management Act passed in 1996, alkaline batteries can be thrown in the trash. The phase out of mercury has made this possible, however, recycling batteries is still a viable option. You can take your batteries to your local household hazardous waste collection program or a battery recycling location near you. You also have the option of using rechargeable batteries, where some battery brands can recharge up to 1,500 times. Rechargeable batteries allow you to cut down on your waste and reduce your environmental impact.
Glass Bottles & Containers
Mirrors, windows, and drinking glasses are all non-container glass items that cannot be recycled. However, all glass bottles and containers, regardless of the color of the glass, whether blue, brown, green, or clear, can be recycled. Ten states have taken recycling a step further and have a bottle bill in place. This bill was passed to encourage recycling and reduce waste, where consumers have the right to be paid per container redeemed at a specified recycling facility.
Used oil should never be poured down the drain. The used oil from one oil change will contaminate one million gallons of fresh water. Used automotive oil can be taken to a recycling facility or a local body shop. Motor oil can be reprocessed into fuel or reused as a lubricant for other operating equipment.
Paper or Plastic?
Paper is the most common waste product in the United States. Paper bags can be recycled, however, they are made of both paper and plastic, so recycling paper bags with regular paper can be tricky. Separate the different paper products and take them to your local recycling facility. Be sure that the paper bags are not soiled or contaminated as this will interfere with your local recycling process. Plastic bags should also be recycled and some grocery and retail stores have bins for collecting the bags. When comparing plastic to paper bags, plastic can actually require 70% less energy than paper. Whichever material you have, both can be recycled to cut down on waste. If you don’t know where the nearest recycling facility is to your location, check out Earth911.com’s cool tool to help locate a facility near you.