How To Recycle Recycling Tips
How To Recycle Electronics
Old electronic devices have posed an environmental conundrum for some time. They are made of plastic and contain batteries, neither of which are good to have in landfills. Recently, though, some companies and programs have sprung up to meet this need.
For example, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has developed an “eCycling” program. To reach local communities, the eCycling program has Plug-In to eCycling Partners, which are regional branches of the main eCycling program. These partners work with various electronics companies, offering incentives and plans to help consumers recycle their used electronics items. Most of the time, this takes the form of local businesses providing receptacles and drop-off locations for consumers.
Sometimes, microwaves and toasters can be recycled. More commonly, though, the following are more likely to be recycled at a Plug-In Partner location:
-Computer monitors and keyboards
Another thing about electronics – they can often be donated, especially in the case of computers. Check with your local schools to see if there is such a program in place.
How To Recycle Junk Mail
Now here is a source of paper waste that can get out of control quickly in the average household. In your eco-friendly home, you will want to have a firm policy regarding junk mail.
First, minimize it. Have your name removed from mailing lists, and be very careful with whom you share your personal contact information. When you do have to give out your name and address, such as filling out a contest form or raffle ticket – request that your information not be shared. Before recycling your junk mail, black out any personal information such as your name, address, and phone number.
Contact the businesses that send you junk mail and ask to be taken off their mailing list. You can also go online and do a search for the Direct Marketing Association. This company will help direct you in stopping junk mail.
Find creative uses for your junk mail. Here are some ideas and recycling tips for junk mail:
*Cut the corners from junk mail letter envelopes and use them as bookmarks (slip the cut corner over the corner of your book’s page).
*Cut pictures out of catalogues to make colorful “books” for your kids.
*Cut colorful magazines and fliers into strips, then glue or staple them in interlocking loops to make a paper chain.
*Shred the junk mail and use it for animal bedding or even cat litter.
*Paste your own design over the promotional magnetic business cards.
How To Recycle Corks
If you drink wine regularly, you may be wondering what to do with all the corks you accumulate from the bottles. This is one of those “difficult” recyclables, but it need not be. Here are some creative recycling tips and uses for corks, and some recycling programs you can look into.
*Thread a needle and poke the needle through a used cork. Then tie the thread to your key ring. If your keys ever fall into water, the cork will stay afloat.
*This floating ability makes corks a good choice for use with fishing line.
*Coarsely chopped corks make good mulch. You can use them whole, too. They do eventually break down.
*Trivets, picture frames, wreaths, and other crafts can be made from corks. Even doll-sized chairs and tables can be made from corks. Use a hot glue gun when attaching them.
If you don’t want to get creative with cork crafts, you can have them recycled. ReCORK is an organization with drop-off locations in various areas. ReCORK collects used wine corks and recycles them into shoes, insulation, floor tiles, and even gaskets. Cork ReHarvest is another cork recycling company whose partnership with Whole Foods has resulted in drop-off boxes being placed in Whole Foods stores around the country.
How To Recycle – Compost
An eco-friendly house needs to have a compost pile. This is one of the best ways to recycle yard and kitchen waste. Here are some recycling tips for doing it effectively.
-Begin with a pile. You will probably want to fence it in roughly with chicken wire. Start with yard waste – grass clippings, leaves, etc. Then add shredded newspaper and kitchen scraps.
-Turn and stir the compost pile periodically using a shovel and heavy-tined pitch-fork.
-If you do not have space outdoors, consider indoor composting or a worm bin.
After a year or so, you should have some rich compost in the middle of the pile. Dig this out and use it on your garden, yard, and houseplants. Share it with your neighbors, too.
How To Recycle – Chickens
Chickens have been called nature’s ultimate recyclers, and for good reason, and are one of the best in our recycling tips. They will eat relatively inexpensive chicken feed and kitchen scraps, and then turn those into eggs. Their manure makes good fertilizer and their insect-eating tendencies help with pest control. If you want to employ nature’s recyclers in your eco-friendly home, keep the following things in mind.
-Everything likes to eat chicken. You don’t have to be out in the country for predators to destroy your flock in an instant. Dogs, weasels, raccoons, coyotes, bobcats, hawks, owls, and opossums can all take a toll on your chicken population. So be aware of the predators in your area and what you can do to prevent them from helping themselves to a chicken dinner at your place.
-Consider a chicken tractor for daytime protection. This is ideal for the small-scale, urban or suburban chicken keeper. It is certainly suitable for farms, too. A chicken tractor is a movable pen, usually made from a wood frame that is covered with chicken wire or hardware cloth. Part of the tractor needs to be covered for shelter. This apparatus is moved to fresh ground daily.
-Make sure you have a coop where the chickens can sleep at night, and that it is secure and warm. Use fine pine bedding, straw, and hay only – avoid cedar as it causes respiratory illness and even death in chickens.
-Several times a year, you will want to clean the old bedding out of the coop. When you do, just toss it onto the compost pile. It will make very rich compost in a short time.
The best way to keep chickens effectively is to educate yourself as much as possible. Check out books at your local library, search the internet, and talk to people who keep chickens in situations similar to yours.
How To Recycle – Reduce
Reducing your use of wasteful materials is an important component a recycling, eco-friendly household. Some areas where you can consider reducing are:
-Kitchen Wrapping and Food Storage
Aluminum foil, plastic wrap, disposable plastic containers, paper towels, plastic zip-top bags…all of these are rather wasteful items. Try to reuse aluminum foil – wipe it off, smooth it, and fold it. You can also rinse and reuse plastic bags. Use washable glass containers for food storage instead of disposable plastic. Getting glass containers with tight lids will reduce your use of plastic wrap as a food cover, too.
Instead of paper towels, keep dish rags and dish towels handy. Also keep a separate cloth or rag for floor spills. These can all be washed in the laundry and reused.
Paper napkins can be replaced with cloth ones, and try not to use paper plates. If you do use them, recycle them.
How To Recycle -Food
It’s hard not to waste food sometimes. But a little planning can help reduce your family’s food waste. As noted above, recycling is a good way to use leftovers. But creative dishes made from cooking leftovers is also a good way to reduce waste. Here are some other recycling tips for food.
-Serve smaller portions on smaller plates
-Make enough of a dish to freeze the leftovers for another meal
-Plan your meals and shopping list carefully, so as to avoid impulse buys that will likely go to waste. This also helps you buy the food you need for your meals and nothing more.
How To Recycle – Involve Your Whole Family
For your household to be truly eco-friendly, one of the best recycling tips is to involve everyone in the family, or at least as many as will participate. Children should definitely be included. Here are some recycling tips on getting kids involved and teaching them how to recycle in your recycling campaign:
-Have them participate in a local clean-up day. It is helpful for kids to see how much trash gets thrown out carelessly on the ground.
-Let your children design fun compost bins. They can paint them, put stickers on them, and help organize them into categories.
-Incorporate your children in your other recycling efforts. If you are doing crafts from recycled materials, let them do it with you. Let them “raid” the recycling bins when they need something to do. Get books at the library and look online to discover ways you can use recyclables to do crafts with your kids. Origami, for instance, can be done easily with the thin, colorful paper of a magazine or used wrapping paper. Rockets can be made from paper towel tubes, and drums from cardboard oatmeal containers.
-Let your kids help in the garden. If they can’t have their own little plot on which to grow vegetables or herbs, let them grow things in containers. They will come to appreciate the effort that goes into growing food, which will hopefully make them more grateful for food in general and therefore less likely to be wasteful.
-Kids would enjoy a worm bin. Starting one is not too hard. You just need a bin with some air holes (rubber or plastic dish tubs with holes drilled or poked in them work well, as do crates), shredded newspaper, some bricks, a tray to set the bin in, and some worms. Just make sure your air holes are not large enough for worms to wiggle through, including baby worms. Fill the bin 2/3 full with shredded newspaper, moisten it, and add your worms. (You can actually order worms for an indoor worm bin online. Look for Red Wigglers or Red Earthworms.) Feed your worms with kitchen scraps and let them do the composting for you. Keep it moist (this is why you need a drainage tray) and warm. Worms will die at temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
For more information on recycling and for part I of this article please click on the following link: How To Recycle – Recycling Tips Part I.