Home recycling requires a small amount of time, yet offers a considerable benefit to the homeowner as well as the environment. Consider:
- paper takes up as much as 50% of all landfill space;
- Americans throw away enough aluminum to rebuild the entire commercial airline fleet every six months;
- up to 90% of recycled glass can be reused to make new glass items, such as bottles and jars;
- recycling a 1-gallon plastic milk jug will save enough energy to keep a 100-watt bulb burning for 11 hours.
According to the EPA, the national recycling rate is just 30%. Increasing material recycling in the USA to 60% could save the equivalent of 315 million barrels of oil per year.
Here are some home recycling tips that are easy, efficient and effective. The key to a successful home recycling program is the storage bin setup. Be sure and label recycling bins to ensure materials are separated correctly.
According to Eartheasy, recycle products with the highest percentage of “post-consumer” recycled content. There are two types of recycled materials used in manufacturing products and packaging: pre-consumer, often referred to as mill scraps recycled internally at manufacturing plants; and post-consumer, those products returned by consumers, through recycling programs, to the manufacturing process.
When recycling paper, remember: newspapers go directly back into newsprint recycling; corrugated cardboard is a highly valued recyclable; magazines, glossy printed flyers or newspaper inserts, phone books, envelopes, computer paper, old letters, and paper packaging should all be recycled.
Plastic does not break down in the landfill, and since it can be recycled to make many diverse products, effort should be made to recycle all plastic waste. Glass is recycled according to color: clear, green and brown. Aluminum cans are very valuable as recyclable items. In addition, aluminum foil and foil packaging are also important to recycle; they are reprocessed into aluminum mechanical components, such as engine parts.