Recycling 101: Can I do it?

We always said that recycling should start from our homes. While the entire process requires your effort and resources, these are trivial compared to the benefits it offers to you and the environment. It is a noble way to make a difference not only in your household but globally as well.

To help you get started, we come up with a short list of the most common household materials that you can recycle. With the advances in the recycling, people have more options now.

PLASTIC
You can see plastic in almost every food and product packaging. Unfortunately, this material does not break down and will take plenty of years to decompose, but it can be recycled to come up diverse products. It is essential that you understand the different types of plastic so you could learn your recycling options.

Some recycling centers accept a particular kind of plastic, so it is better to check your local center. It is also important to promote the use of recyclable and reusable plastic items. You will mostly encounter the terms PET and HDPE for bottles and containers. Plastic grocery bags have LDPE with high-density polyethylene. Mixed plastics like polycarbonates that are usually found in cups, egg cartons, and food trays are not recyclable. Thus, reduce the use of these products.

ALUMINUM CANS AND FOIL

Most of us drink beverages in cans daily. Although it is 100% recyclable, only 49% of it was recycled. As of today, there are almost 10,000 recycling centers in the USA that buy aluminum. It is a booming industry with $1 billion yearly revenue.

Likewise, aluminum foil such as food wraps and disposable cookware. The material can be recycled with a fundamental process: re-melting the item and molding it into other product. It significantly reduces the cost and energy needed in mining minerals to produce new aluminum.

GLASS
Just a tip, glass materials are recycled according to their color. Most recycling centers want glass products to be separated this way: clear, green and brown. Light bulbs and sheet glass should be separated since they have a different melting point and composition.

More tips

Milk cartons and juice boxes are made of paper, but since they have an ultra-thin coating which is a polyethylene, they are quite difficult to recycle. Likewise, pizza boxes are usually not accepted in local recycling centers despite that they are recyclable. It is because of the food and grease accumulated in the box.
The same is true with most food containers, paper napkins and paper plates. Food residue can significantly reduce the value a recyclable material.

Shredded paper also reduces their grade, quality, and value. Printer paper and letterheads are considered high grade while shredded papers have mixed grade. While some companies only accept long shreds, others won’t take this at all. Thus, make sure of the requirements of your curbside collection service.

There are just so many things that you can reuse and recycle at home. You just need to research and learn the proper ways to do it.

Leave a Reply