With the average person in the United States generating over 4 pounds of trash per day, the importance of recycling should be blatantly clear. The things we discard have long been finding their way into the soil that produces our food, the water we drink, and the air we breathe. Our trash contributes to the break-down of ecosystems and directly kills millions of animals per year.
Sadly, the trash itself isn’t the only problem. Not only are we throwing it out in the first place, but we are manufacturing more of the same products that we discard. When we manufacture new glass jars, aluminum cans, or paper, we are cutting down more trees, using more energy, emitting more greenhouse gases, and using more water.
What is the answer to this conundrum? Yes, recycling! Start with the no-brainers: aluminum cans, plastic bottles, glass jars, cardboard, newspapers and magazines. Yet, don’t stop there—keep going! Here are 10 things that you should consider recycling the next time you’re faced with the decision of whether or not to throw them out:
1. Mattresses: When you purchase a new mattress, be sure that your retailer participates in a mattress recycling program where they will properly discard your old one.
2. Plastic Cards: For example, gift cards, credit cards and hotel keys. This year’s used up gift card can live again as next year’s gift card.
3. CDs & DVDs: With the ability to stream and download, we don’t really need these any more. That means that so many are getting thrown out. Consider donating them or taking them somewhere that will recycle them properly.
4. Writing Utensils: You can send that cup full of dried up pens, markers, highlighters, mechanical pencils, and even those stray caps for recycling.
5. Packing peanuts: The Styrofoam variety are a big no-no for the landfills, but can be recycled into many different products.
6. Trophies: Your old high school trophies can be made into shiny, new trophies through special programs.
7. Electronic waste: Electronic devices should always be disposed of properly. Ware Disposal and other recycling companies actually specialize in depositing these items safely.
8. Auto fluids: If you change your own fluids, proper disposal is a must. Most automotive stores have a recycling program, and so just make sure that you ask whether or not they have one before you go to them for services.
9. Toothbrushes and razors: These and many other personal care products can be dismantled and recycled so that they don’t pile up in the landfill.
10. Christmas Trees: Most communities have recycling programs that will turn your holiday tree into anything from erosion barriers to fish habitats, which means that things that come from nature can go right back to benefiting the earth again.
Most of these ideas are fairly easy to accomplish and really only the beginning to all of what you can do. Doing a quick internet search for recycling centers in your area will get you started, though. A little bit of knowledge and a few extra minutes of your time is all it takes to make a lasting impact on our planet for generations to come.