Recycling can be easy – and fun – for everyone in the family. With Americans pledging to increase their recycling habits at home and at work, there’s no better time for the family to get involved and become better environmental stewards.
Here are 15 small actions you and your family can take to renew your commitment to recycling.
Did you know …
- Half is better than none. You may not be able to recycle your whole pizza box, but in most communities you can tear off the top (as long as it’s grease-free) and put it in your recycling bin.
- You bet your bottle tops you can recycle them. The caps on your plastic bottles are recyclable, too. Empty your bottle, replace the cap, and recycle.
- Plastic bag and film recycling: more than grocery bags. Along with plastic grocery bags, recycle the bags from your dry-cleaning, loaf of bread, and newspaper. Remember to take clean, dry bags to recycling centers or retailers with plastic bag recycling bins.
- A trick up your sleeve. Paper cups aren’t always recyclable because of the wax lining, but don’t forget to recycle the cardboard sleeve!
- Look beyond the daily paper. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), paper and cardboard are America’s most recycled materials by weight. In addition to newspaper, most communities accept corrugated cardboard as well as cereal and tissue boxes. Some accept mail, catalogs and phone books.
Make Recycling a Habit
- Close the loop. The recycling process doesn’t stop at the bin! After materials are processed and back on the shelf as new items, it’s up to you to buy recycled products. Look for products and packaging with recycled content (and efficient packaging) to do your part as a recycling-conscious consumer.
- Recycle on the go. Keep two bags in your car – one for your trash and one for recyclables. Pre-sorting makes it easier to transfer your recyclables into a recycling bin once you’ve reached your destination.
- Recycling: it’s not just in the kitchen. Don’t trash your detergent and shampoo bottles just because you don’t have a bin in your bathroom or laundry room. Keep a plastic bag for collecting recyclables under the sink or take a few extra steps to put your empty bottles in the recycling bin.
- Reduce and reuse. Minimizing the trash we generate and reusing products reduces our impact on the planet and our resources. For example, consider reusing that plastic bag. Also reduce unwanted direct mail by unsubscribing at CatalogChoice.org.
- Know your limits. Putting materials in your recycling bin that aren’t collected in your community contaminates the recycling process and creates extra work for recycling facility employees. To recycle items that your local program does not collect, check AmericaRecyclesDay.org to find where they may be recycled in your community.
Actions You Can Take Now
- Can it! Metals are among the most valuable materials in the recycling stream. Aluminum and steel cans are always welcomed by recyclers, and most metals can be recycled again … and again … and again.
- Answer the call to recycle your wireless phone! More than 100 million cell phones retire each year to sit in our drawers or closets, according to the EPA. Do you have out-of-use phones in your home? Consider donating them to a local charity or visit AmericaRecyclesDay.org to find a recycler.
- Recycling: don’t exclude your food. Start composting your food waste. If you aren’t quite ready for a compost bin or pile, consider tossing a few biodegradable items into your garden or window boxes instead of the trash. Egg shells and coffee grounds enrich soil and break down easily.
- Do your homework. Different communities collect different materials for recycling. Visit AmericaRecyclesDay.org to find what is recycled in your community.
- Spread the word. Now that you’re an expert recycler, consider hosting an educational recycling event in your community. See AmericaRecyclesDay.org/toolkit for ideas and resources that can be downloaded.
America’s leading companies are proud to make America Recycles Day possible. National sponsors include: American Chemistry Council, Anheuser-Busch, Earth911.com, Glad, Johnson & Johnson, Nestlé Waters North America, Owens-Illinois, PepsiCo and Waste Management.