I’ve considered starting to recycle for probably years by now. Selfishly, I never educated myself or pursued designing a recycling program at my house to keep it simple and easy. The reason why, is that for some reason when I thought of recycling I thought it would be difficult, time consuming, a pain. After feeling a tinge of guilt every time I threw a plastic bottle in the trash can I decided to just do it already.
First I located the counties website and found a list of the items they will take and where they are located. Then I called them to find out some of the details I was confused on. How does this work exactly? Do I bring the items in a box? A bag? Do I need to clean them? Crush them? That was the best thing for me because talking to someone summed everything up pretty clearly and now I feel like I understand what to do and won’t feel quite so lost when I show up.
I bought a cheap, nine-gallon trash can at WalMart and sat it by our normal trash can. I printed a list of things that are able to be recycled and taped it to the side and then printed this icon for the front.
For now, to get us started, we are recycling aluminum, plastics #1 and plastics #2. As we get used to it and it becomes second nature, I will try to incorporate more. We go through a lot of cans and plastic bottles so I know I will feel much better about myself by doing this. However, I started to think to myself, does this really make that big of a difference? I mean, I know recycling is important but just how important? I found some great info on Recycling Revolution on just how much we can do by recycling.
-Every ton of paper that is recycled saves 17 trees.
-The energy we save when we recycle one glass bottle is enough to light a light bulb for four hours.
-Every bit of recycling makes a difference. For example, one year of recycling on just one college campus, Stanford University, saved the equivalent of 33,913 trees and the need for 636 tons of iron ore, coal, and limestone.
-It takes 95% less energy to recycle aluminum than it does to make it from raw materials. Making recycled steel saves 60%, recycled newspaper 40%, recycled plastics 70%, and recycled glass 40%. These savings far outweigh the energy created as by-products of incineration and landfilling.
-A national recycling rate of 30% reduces greenhouse gas emissions as much as removing nearly 25 million cars from the road.
So this is my encouragement to you – if you aren’t already – start recycling, even if it is just one item for now. It all helps!