Recycle House Garbage:
We know that recycling is a green act, but are we doing it enough, well and to its maximum extend? When it comes to waste management there are different levels of things we can do. Firstly, the best option is to avoid any waste at all – a total lifestyle change is needed, but it is not impossible. Second is reuse – if you can repurpose glass jars and use plastic containers again, that will cut down your waste significantly. The third most preferred option is to recycle – separating household waste according to their material and having it collected by a recycling company.
Do you know what you can recycle at home?
Metals. Aluminium cans are 100% recyclable and can be returned to the shelf as a new can in as little as two months after being thrown in the recycling bin. Don’t forget about your aluminium foil and those disposable aluminium trays used for cooking: you can use them several times if you wash them.
Paper and cardboard. Most of our cardboard shipping boxes are made from recycled materials, such as old cardboard products or sawdust and woodchips. Corrugated cardboard can also be recycled to produce cereal boxes, paper towels, tissues and writing paper. Don’t recycle wet cardboard as this can clog the sorting machines at the recycling plant. Similarly, pizza boxes can’t be recycled because of the grease that soaks into the cardboard from the pizza. The same goes for paper plates, napkins and paper towels that have food or grease remnants. Glossy magazines can, in fact, be recycled. Low-grade paper such as newsprint, coloured paper and school exercise books can be turned into cardboard, newspaper and toilet paper. Paper juice boxes and milk cartons are harder to recycle, but in some countries they are.
Glass. Glass should be separated by colour. Clear glass can be recycled into any colour of glass, while brown glass can only be used to create other brown glass products. The same goes for green glass – the green cannot be removed. Not all glass can be recycled. Heat-resistant glass such as Pyrex dishes, as well as glass ceramics, should not be put in the recycling bin. Broken mirrors and crystal glasses also cannot be recycled. It is important to first rinse and remove food from any glass containers before throwing them away. Light bulbs can be recycled but must be separated from other glass-only waste, as they obviously contain metal elements.
Plastic. Like glass, it is very important to rinse and clean plastic before recycling it. Food contaminants and grease can spoil an entire bale of plastic recycling. Plastic comes in many different forms and chemical compounds, each of which needs to be recycled in a different way. On plastic products, those little triangular icons with numbers inside them tell you what type of resin was used to produce the plastic. These symbols do not mean that the plastic can be recycled, so the best way to tell if you can recycle the container is to go by shape; bottles, jugs and jars are the most readily accepted waste for recycling. Plastic bottle caps can also be recycled.
Batteries. Household batteries such as AA, AAA, or button batteries (watch batteries) should be recycled separately from other metal products. The chemicals inside batteries need to be managed and treated properly. Similarly, car batteries can be recycled too, but because they contain plastic, acid and lead, they need to be processed in special treatment factories. Many garages and service stations can take your old car batteries and have them recycled on your behalf. Car batteries can produce fertilizers, dyes and other battery products. Rechargeable batteries used in laptops, cellphones and cordless power tools can be recycled to reclaim the precious metals and dispose of harmful chemicals correctly.
Easy recycling in the home. Organize your home space and your family daily routine to always divide waste based on recycling. If you have the space in your kitchen or outside, set up about seven bins (one for each of the main categories above, plus one for compost and one for general/miscellaneous waste). If a child start recycling from a young age, recycling will become natural and a healthy habit in her/his life forever. Teach the little ones in your family and make it fun!