Participating in recycling saves natural resources, the environment, and your money.
The EPA has set a goal for America of recycling 25% of our waste.
One glass jar recycled saves enough energy to light a 100 watt light bulb for 4 hours.
Enough iron and steel are thrown away by Americans each year to supply the nation’s auto makers.
Americans throw away 570 diapers per second – 49 million per year.
United States Environmental/Recycling Hotline includes a searchable database that allows users to find the nearest recycling facility for glass, paper, and other renewables by using their postal zip codes.arth911 is another resource. It allows you to type in your ZIP code or find your state on a map to locate recycling centers in your community for all types of recyclables: http://search.earth911.com/
Recycling at home – What you can do:
Household WasteYard Trimmings and Food WasteAppliancesComputersConstruction/DemolitionAutomotiveAvoid Junk Mail
Buy Recycled products to encourage the recycling industries use of such products.
Recycling Household Waste
Average household trash is made up of:
18% yard trimmings
7% food waste
Here are some ways to reduce your daily wastes going into the landfill:
Participate in community curb-side recycling programs.
Reuse containers at home. Plastic containers with lids, such as yogurt cups, can be washed and reused for saving leftovers. Waxed paper containers can be stored in the shop or craft closet for mixing paint or storing dry parts. Whenever possible use containers a second time.
All glass food and beverage containers are recyclable.
All aluminum beverage cans and foil can be recycled.
Many charities have regularly scheduled pickups routes. Centers that help the homeless and disadvantaged often need donations of usable items.
Consider buying rechargeable batteries for toys and personal music players.
Recycling – Yard Trimmings and Food Waste
The average home composter recycles 600-750 pounds. of waste per year. This waste is turned into “black gold” in the form of compost. Compost applied to yards and plantings improves soil, reduces water usage, and the need for synthetic fertilizer.
Do not pick up lawn clippings. When mowing, leave the clippings. They provide nutrients to the lawn and reduce water need.
The Composting Handbook gives basics of composting.
Rot Web provides many links and ideas.
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Recycling – Appliances
Durable goods, such as refrigerators and television sets, made up 16% of the 1994 U.S. municipal solid waste stream by weight, or 25.5 million tons of waste.
If you stacked all the refrigerators Americans buy in a single week, you’d have a tower more than 80 miles high.
Often a used appliance can be reused by someone else. If a discarded appliance is in working order, consider giving it to someone who needs it, donating it to a local charity, or selling it at a garage sale.
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Recycling – Computers
It takes several thousand years for a computer monitor to decompose in a landfill. For every computer recycled, 4 end up in a landfill. Computer systems are replaced on average every 3 years.
Recycled computers are a cost-saving way to provide machines for schools, home, or children. Consider donating old working equipment to local schools or nonprofit organizations.
Upgrade the home computer instead of buying a new machine. Check in the Yellow Pages under computers to find dealers who rebuild computers. Replacing a few components will save money and often is enough to run new software.
Recycling – Construction/Demolition
Construction creates large quantities of waste. Even a simple kitchen or recreation room remodel can send tons of demolition debris and waste construction materials to the local landfill. When planning new construction or remodeling, consider alternative uses for unneeded materials.
Local chapters of Habitat for Humanity always needs donations of working or repairable plumbing and other building materials.
Recycling – Automotive
Residential waste haulers do not accept used oil, automotive batteries, or antifreeze for disposal or recycling.
Each year home mechanics improperly dispose of more oil than was spilled by the Exxon Valdez.
Used oil from a single oil change (approximately 1 gallon) can ruin 1 million gallons of fresh water – a year’s supply for 50 people.
One gallon of recycled, used oil provides the same 2.5 quarts of high quality lubrication oil as 42 gallons of crude oil.
A car battery contains 18 pounds of lead and 1 pound of sulfuric acid.
In 1993, 80% to 95% of automobile batteries were recycled.
More Motor Oil Facts can be found at the EPA’s Website.
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Recycling – Avoid Junk Mail
In 1990, third class mail made up more than 2% of the waste disposed in the United States and weighed 3.6 million tons. For every 1 million pages not printed, 85 pulp trees are saved. One effective way to reduce the amount of household paper is to reduced unwanted junk mail.
One good way to reduce unwanted mail solicitations is to send a letter or postcard to the Direct Marketing Association. Its address is:
Direct Marketing Association
P.O. Box 9008
Farmingdale, NY 11735
Reduce unwanted telephone solicitation by sending a postcard to its telemarketing suppression file.
Direct Marketing Association
Telemarketing Suppression File
P.O. Box 9014
Farmingdale, NY 11735-9014
Many other ideas on stopping unwanted junk mail can be found at www.Obviously.com.
Recycle – Buy Recycled
Possible uses of recycled raw materials increase each year. Some of the products Americans buy every day already have recycled content.
All newly purchased glass food jars contain at least 35% recycled glass.
The average aluminum can in the U.S. contains 40% post-consumer recycled aluminum.
Products made from recovered plastic bottles include: drainage pipes, toys, carpet, filler for pillows and sleeping bags, and cassette casings.
Recycle – Shop Smart
When you shop, follow this order of preference when considering an item:
Choose items with no, less, or simpler packaging. On average 10% of the cost of food items is the packaging. Less packaging means less cost and easier recycling.
Buy a recycled computer.
Remanufactured toner cartridges are available from Environmental Laser and other companies including local suppliers.