Culture and Society

How to Recycle Different Materials

First of all, if you live in an area that has a curbside recycling program, then lucky you. There are parts of this post that will not be relevant to your situation.

However, if you do not live in an area that prioritizes that kind of initiative (like I do), then you take your recyclable materials to your local recycling centers as regularly as possible. In my household, this involves putting paper, cardboard, plastic, and aluminum cans in different bags instead of in the trash. I load up my car every week to do this. Otherwise, it all starts to pile up.

Despite all of the effort it takes for me to make this happen, I am thankful for the simplicity of the process. I take all of these items to the recycling centers and put them in their corresponding large metal bins. After that, I’m done, and then I probably treat myself for my time and effort.

There are, however, some other tricky household items that may or may not be recyclable. If not, they may otherwise be hazardous and need to be disposed of properly.

Here is a short list of links I have pulled together as a resource in case you might have any of these materials and do not know of a good way to get rid of them. Each link takes you to an article that describes how each item can be safely and properly disposed:

Here are some tips that I follow to make my weekly recycling trips easier:

  • Use Reusable shopping bags to give them an added function.
    Yes, I am one of those people who brings his own bags to the grocery store instead of using all of those plastic bags that they have handy. I also use them to carry paper, small (broken-down) cardboard, and plastic bottles/containers for recycling. I also have quite a few of them in various sizes and colors. They all fit more easily in the back of my car than a bunch of boxes would.
  • Write down the hours of operation for 2 to 3 recycling centers in your area.
    In my case, I have a small handful of places where I can take my recycling, but some of their hours and days closed can vary greatly. Save yourself some grief by knowing when you can and cannot deliver your goods. It’s not fun when you make a trip only to find out that it is closed. If you happen to know of another one that is open, then that would make it all better.
  • Ideally, prepare all recyclables the day before driving it all out.
    I find that the work of gathering all of the materials (particularly if there is a lot) and loading it all up in the car on top taking it to a recycling center and unloading each bag is an awful lot of work for one day. When possible, I like to gather everything and load it all into my car the day before. This breaks up all of the labor into more manageable chunks.
  • Use those large leftover dog food, cat food, or potting soil bags for recyclable items.
    We reuse them every month for our aluminum cans since we don’t recycle those until we know we can make a decent sum of money from a scrap metal recycling plant that pays by the pound. It can take a long while to accumulate a whole lot.

If recycling is a big part of your life, then I hope this post was helpful. Almost every other day, I hear more know about how climate change is affecting our planet, and the news seems to get progressively worse. Recycling is one thing I can do, among many other acttivities, to help undo the massive pollution we humans create every day everywhere.

I want to be more of a steward of the earth than a destroyer.

If you don’t already recycle, please consider making it a part of your weekly schedule and life, and if you do recycle, thank you very much for your efforts, compassion for our planet, and diligence.

-Roqué

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