Ways to Help the Environment by Recycling

Mary Gormandy White
recycle paper

If you're looking for a way to make a positive impact on the earth, it's a good idea to start out by taking steps to help the environment by recycling.

How to Help the Environment by Recycling

No matter who you are or where you live, you can have a positive impact on the planet by engaging in behaviors that reduce the amount of post consumer waste that finds its way into landfills. Many of the items that end up in landfills shouldn't be there. Many consumer products can be repurposed through recycling. Food and plant waste can be composted and used as organic fertilizer.

Curbside Recycling

There are many ways to help the environment by recycling. Some communities provide curbside recycling pick up once or twice each week. If your town has this service, it's likely that the recycling company will provide you with a few crates to use for collecting materials that can be recycled. You'll just need to fill your crates and place them by your curb on the days that your neighborhood's pick up is scheduled.

Curbside recycling services are usually provided by the same company that handles garbage pick up service in a particular area. In some locations, curbside recycling pickup is funded by the municipality in which the neighborhood is located. In other areas, residents who want to enjoy at home recycling services can pay a fee for scheduled pickups.

Recycling Centers

Even if you aren't fortunate enough to live in an area that offers curbside recycling pickup, it's likely that there is a recycling center of some type in your community. Find out what types of items your local recycling facility accepts, and start collecting items for the center. Some recycling facilities pay a small fee for items that are dropped off for recycling. Others are private businesses that operate either for profit or as revenue centers for non-profit agencies.

Items that can be Recycled

  • Aluminum cans: Save all the soda cans from your home or office. Crush them so you can fit as many as possible into the box or crate that you are collecting them in.
  • Steel cans: Rinse out the steel cans that your canned vegetables, juice, and other food items are packaged in and save them for recycling.
  • Newspaper: Don't throw away your daily newspaper. Save it for the recycling center or use it for another purpose. Some people like to use newspaper as gift wrapping paper. Others create tight newspaper braids to use for fireplace kindling.
  • Miscellaneous paper: Save and recycle paper products such as junk mail, used copy paper, old faxes, etc. and turn it in at your local recycling center for repurposing. Recycling paper helps keep waste out of landfills.
  • Cardboard boxes: Instead of tossing out cardboard boxes, break them down and deliver them to your local recycling facility.
  • Motor oil: Many companies that provide oil change services and general automotive repair collect motor oil for recycling. Recycled motor oil can be used for fuel for ships or for a variety of other purposes.
  • Food waste: Instead of throwing away food scraps from your kitchen, start a compost pile or bin in your back yard. When you make your own compost, you'll have a ready supply of free organic fertilizer for your flowers, lawn, and vegetable garden. You can even add leaves and grass to this!
  • Electronic equipment: There are laws prohibiting throwing away computer monitors and a variety of other types of electronic equipment, because these types of items often contain substances that can be harmful if not disposed of properly. You may have to pay a small fee to recycle electronic equipment, but you'll be protecting the environment and complying with electronics recycling laws.

Recycling Makes a Difference

When you make a point of doing everything you can to help the environment by recycling, your actions make you part of the solution rather than part of the problem. As a society, we must take steps to reduce the amount of waste that is clogging our landfills. Making sure that recyclable items don't end up in landfills is an important first step toward green living and conservation.

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Ways to Help the Environment by Recycling