Maybe you’ve been thinking about recycling for a while and have just never gotten around to it. Or possibly you’re an occasional recycler who would like to do more, but you’re not sure where or how to start. Whether you’re working on a New Year’s resolution or just looking to make some general improvements, here are a few tips for becoming a recycling superhero:
1. Educate yourself about recycling.
It may seem a little complicated, but learning the rules means you’ll avoid putting a bunch of effort into something that won’t make a bit of difference. Whether you have a curbside collection or using a drop-off, find out which materials are accepted and how you should prepare them.
2. Think about recycling before you buy.
Now that you know what’s accepted at your desired recycling collection, plan ahead by avoiding items (or packaging) that you can’t easily recycle. For example, if you know you can’t recycle polystyrene in your Granger collection, buy the eggs that come in a clear plastic or paper container instead, because those materials can be recycled in most recycling collections. This might not always be possible if you’re purchasing a very specific item, but most of the time it works pretty well.
3. Get organized.
The more convenient you can make recycling, the easier and more automatic it will become. Place containers for recycling right next to your trash container so recycling doesn’t take any more effort than throwing things away. When the indoor container is full, simply transfer the contents to your Curby Recycler for curbside collection or sort it into different containers in your garage to be taken to a drop-off.
4. Get others involved.
Most things are more fun when we do them together. Talk to your family members or roommates about the importance of recycling, help educate them on the recycling guidelines and label all your recycling containers to make it easier. Involve the kids by taking them to the drop-off center with you. Take the whole family on a tour of a recycling center or search YouTube for videos to do a virtual tour. You can even reward your kids when you see them recycling.
5. Don’t end your recycling efforts with your household collection.
With most household recycling programs, such as Granger’s, basic materials such as paper, plastics and cardboard are accepted. But just because your drop-off site or curbside collection doesn’t take a certain material doesn’t mean it can’t be recycled. You may be able to take some materials, such as electronics, scrap metal and polystyrene, to a more specialized recycling collection. Do some online research and find out where you can recycle these harder to recycle items. (Check out our blog post about what to do with e-waste here.)
And here are a couple more things to think about:
- Demand helps drive availability of recycling. Buying products made of recycled materials (or using recycled packaging) can help make more recycling options available.
- Recycling is great, but environmental responsibility doesn’t end there. The other two Rs (reduce and reuse) are just as important. Look for ways in your everyday life to reduce what you buy and use, as well as ways to reuse items you may no longer want.