Since the average person produces around four pounds of waste per day – which equals a ton and a half per year – it is extremely important to recycle as much as possible . It costs a lot of resources, time, and effort to create new products continually, especially when they could be reused instead of being placed in landfill.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), at least 75% of the American waste stream could be recycled. Currently, only around 30% of it is.
There is obviously huge room for improvement, and it starts with you! Learn to sort your household waste properly, recycle everything that can be recycled, and save the environment – one piece of trash at a time.
The materials which can be recycled range from paper and cardboard, to various plastic and metal containers, to things like batteries or electronics. Each type of waste needs to be sorted differently and disposed of in a certain way, depending on where you live and on the recycling rules of the region. In some places, recycling may be non-existent .
If you live somewhere like this, then you should still consider sorting your household waste and delivering it to some sort of recycling plant yourself.
Read this easy guide to gain an understanding of how to sort your waste at home:
- Glass bottles
Unfortunately, Americans throw away around 28 billion bottles and jars every year. This, combined with other glass waste, leads to an estimated 9 million tons of glass in landfill – every single year ! By separating your glass waste from the rest of your waste stream, you will be doing your bit for the environment and ensuring that you don’t contribute more to landfill than you need to.
Before recycling glass jars or bottles you should rinse them and remove the lid (which can be placed in either the metal or plastic stream depending on what it is made of). I some places, you will be required to separate different coloured glasses to make the recycling process easier .
- Metals and plastics
Metal and plastic packaging and drink or food cartons are often recycled together. They should be clean, free of excessive contaminants, oils, or greases, and should conform to the recycling regulations of your region.
Some plastics can be recycled successfully. Other can’t and should be included in the general waste stream. Familiarize yourself with the rules of your country or city.
- Paper and cardboard
Paper and paper derivatives are among the easiest materials to recycle. They should be sorted into their own bin. When sorting paper from the rest of your waste stream, ensure that you don’t accidentally include plastic packaging, stickers, or cartons which have excessive plastic or metal lining .
Nearly every electronic product ever produced could, and should be recycled. In many countries, you can drop off your used electronics at any shop selling similar products. In other places, you there are dedicated depos or collection centers where they will recycle anything that is broken or not working, and sell or give away things that still are.
- Organic waste
Most organic waste can be composted, and should definitely be removed from your waste stream. If you have yard space or a large balcony, then you can create a compost bin to break down all your food waste into high-quality fertilizer.
Alternatively, you can invest in a worm farm – which can sit in the closet or the corner of a room – that will produce worm juice which you can sell .