How do I know if something is recyclable?

Recycling is when you process used materials and use them to make new products in an effort to prevent excessive waste of useful materials, reduce use of new raw materials, reduce energy use, reduce pollution of air and water, reduce need for waste disposal, and to lower greenhouse gas emissions. Recycling is a major part of modern waste management. Many products are recyclable including; glass, paper, metal, plastic, textiles, and electronics.

How does it work?Materials that can be recycled are sorted according to type, cleaned, and brought to a collection center or picked up with the trash. Again the materials are sorted and cleaned, then they are processed into new materials and sent to manufacturing companies. Recycling provides companies with a way to make new products using reprocessed materials instead of investing in new ones.

Some materials must be salvaged from other products. For example; lead must be extracted from car batteries and gold must be extracted from computer parts. Some materials are salvaged because of their hazardous nature, like the removal of mercury from certain items.

1. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. It is important to reduce the amount of products we consume to reduce the waste we produce. Next, it is important to shift your product consumption to those that are produced from recycled materials. Last, is the option to recycle. It is important to try to recycle anything you can. Some items you may not have thought of recycling can be; batteries, computers, and cell-phones. When the three principles are in balance, refuse destined for the landfill will reduce drastically.

2. Know what products can be recycled. Find out what your local recycling rules are for your area. This will ensure that you don’t attempt to recycle something that can not be processed.

3. Purchase only recycled materials. If you shift your consumption to only products that have been recycled you will be contributing to keeping products out of landfills. Also, by purchasing and using only recycled materials you will reduce the consumption of virgin materials, which can be important for resources like wood.

4. Encourage recycled art. Some artists choose to construct their masterpieces out of recycled or used materials. Also, encourage the use of recycled paper, and biodegradable glues, paints, and pencils.

5. Recycle Water. If you own your own home, you may want to consider altering your plumbing structure to use rainwater or waste water from your shower/tug to flush your toilet. You can also water your plants and garden with leftover bath water or dish water.

6. Compost. Another way to reduce household trash is to compost your food waste. You can place these items into a bin outside and either use on your own garden or give to others to help their gardens. You can also donate your real Christmas tree to be made into mulch.

7. Recycle your electronics. This option is becoming very popular in urban areas. There are many non-profit organizations that can take your computer parts and electronics and convert them into working devices for others to use. You may also consider selling your old or broken electronics or giving them away to people who may be able to fix and use them. You can also recycle your cell-phone by donating it to an organization that provides people with cell phones for emergencies. In addition you can donate non-working appliances to local repair shops, trade schools, or repair hobbyists.





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