Thursday, November 10, 2011

How to Be Greener - Recycling Tips

By Steve Njenga 

Reduce, reuse, recycle - you must have heard it time and again but it's still the most logical and powerful protocol for material use. Let's face it: we're consumers and we go through a lot of stuff and generate a lot of garbage. Tossing goods into the recycling bin should be what we do after reducing our consumption and reusing existing materials. "Every day the city takes 3,500 tons a day to the landfills," says Cynthia Ruiz of the Los Angeles Department of Public Works. "We have only one earth and only so much more room in the landfills, but we can divert hundreds of tons from the landfills with recycling."
The best thing you can do is pay attention to the blue bin and see below about what you can recycle curbside. "We make it easy for residents - just put it in the blue bin and we do the rest," says Ruiz. You can also bring your recyclables to city-operated or privately owned recycling centers or salvage yards. Depending on the type of salvage yard, you'll find everything from architectural design elements to building supplies for your home remodel. There are also recycling services that come to you, either by directly picking up your recyclables or by providing boxes or envelopes for mailing in such things as toner cartridges, computers, and other electronics. Follow their directions for sorting, sending, and/or setting out materials.

A breakdown of what to recycle:
  • White, colored shredded (unsoiled - no paper towels)
  • Newspaper
  • Magazines
  • Catalogs
  • Paperback books
  • Phone books and directories
  • Paper board (cereal boxes, etc.)
  • Egg cartons
  • Cardboard (flattened)
  • Junk mail
  • Non-metallic wrapping paper (Note: staples, paperclips, labels, and tape are allowed)
Cans and Foil:
  • Steel
  • Aluminum cans
  • Metal food trays
  • Bottles, jars
  • #1 and #2 containers (beverage, milk, soda, water, detergent, shampoo, yogurt, margarine, etc.) county
 Know Your Plastic Numbers:
The plastics industry has developed a series of markers, usually seen on the bottom of plastic containers. These markers do not mean the plastic can be recycled, nor do they mean the container uses recycled plastic. Despite the confusing use of the chasing arrow symbol, these markers only identify the plastic type, that is, 1-PETE, 2-HDPE, 3-Vinyl, 4-LDPE, 5-PP, 6-PS, 7-Other.
Virtually everything made of plastic is marked with a code. Not all types can actually be recycled. Types 1 and 2 are widely accepted in container form, and type 4 is sometimes accepted in bag form. Code 7 is for mixed or layered plastic and has virtually no recycling potential. You should place in your bin only those types of plastic authorized by your local recycling agency.

Do Not Put These Items Curbside:
  • TVs (take to an electronics recycling center)
  • Computer monitors (take to an electronics recycling center)
  • Auto batteries (many service stations and city- or county-operated recycling centers will accept these)
  • Plastic bags (often not recyclable; check with your local waster hauler or on your countys' recycling website)
Buying Recycled Products:Finally, after dumping all that garbage, consider buying more recycled products. There are many benefits to buying recycled materials. Here are a few:
  • Save natural resources: recycling conserves land, reduces the need to drill for oil, mine for minerals, and desecrate forests.
  • Save energy: for example, producing aluminum by recycling takes 95% less energy than producing new aluminum from bauxite ore.
  • Save clean air and water: recycling reduces amount of pollutants emitted during resource extraction, processing, and manufacturing.
  • Save landfill space: recycling materials go into new products, not the landfill.
  • Save money and create jobs: recycling creates more jobs than landfills or incinerators; is often the least expensive waste management method for cities and towns.
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