Recycling saves energy, landfill space and natural resources.
Home recycling requires a trivial amount of time, yet offers substantial benefit to the homeowner as well as the environment.
According to the EPA, the national recycling rate is just 30%. Increasing materials recycling in the US to 60% could save the equivalent of 315 million barrels of oil per year. Recycling is a great way individuals can make a difference, both locally and globally.
What you can do
– visit your local recycling center and find out what materials they accept for recycling. Then set up your bins accordingly.
– put storage bins in place – The key to a successful home recycling program is the storage bin setup. Once you learn which materials your local recycling center accepts, set up a corresponding storage bin system. The garage is a good place to locate the bins; if using an open car port the lids will need to be covered to secure the contents from pests and wind. Once your system is set up, recycling is easy!
– use plastic bags or totes to store materials for recycling. Paper bags can be leaky, and rip easily. Try to use smaller containers, as they will be easier to lift when full.
– label recycling bins to ensure materials are separated correctly.
– choose products with the highest percentage of “post-consumer” recycled content
Two types of recycled materials are used in manufacturing products and packaging:
pre-consumer – often referred to as mill scraps recycled internally at manufacturing plants.
post-consumer – returned by consumers, through recycling programs, to the manufacturing process.
– clean bottles and tins before putting in the recycling bin. This prevents flies both at home and the recycling station.
– put a ‘no junk mail’ sticker on your letter box. You’ll be amazed at how much this reduces your rubbish.
– join the Freecycle™ movement – the idea is simple: you give away for free what you have and don’t need and you receive for free what you need, but don’t have. This ‘free cycle’ of goods keeps lots of useful stuff out of landfill sites and is about thinking globally and recycling locally.
Close the Loop: Buy Recycled!
The value of recyclables is driven by market demand. As consumers, we must choose products with recycled content and packaged in recycled materials, so that the materials we recycle are put to use, and markets are sustained. These products can typically be made with recycled content:
Packaging: Boxes for foods such as cereal, crackers and cake mix. Bottles containing liquid laundry detergent, dishwashing liquids, shampoos and household cleaners.
Paper products: Facial tissue, toilet paper, napkins, paper towels, greeting cards, writing paper and corrugated cardboard shipping boxes.
Plastic products: Coat hangers, desk accessories, storage organizers, patio furniture, playground equipment and toys.
Automotive: Re-refined motor oil, retread tires, rebuilt/remanufactured parts and used cars.
Garden Supplies: Hoses, planters and mulch.
Clothing and accessories: Tennis shoes and hiking boots. Clothing fabric made of recycled plastic bottles.
Home maintenance: Carpeting, door mats, roofing, wallboard, paint, insulation, gutters and down spouts, siding and flooring.
Office supplies: Copier and printer papers, notepads, re-manufactured toner cartridges, bulletin boards, rulers, scissors, pencils and refurbished office furniture.
Recycling should become second nature; this includes recycling water. Water Rhapsody has various water systems that recycle grey water as well as pool backwash water. Greywater can be reused for garden irrigation or for flushing toilets. Pool backwash water should be contained and reused as this chlorinated water is potentially highly toxic to many plants and animals. Water Rhapsody also supplies and installs rainwater harvesting systems and water tanks. Contact us for a free assessment and quote.