Best Practices for Enhancing Your Home’s Recycling Efforts

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Recycling is one of the easiest ways to help prevent environmental damage and decrease your impact on the planet. But people so often throw their refuse into the trash, thinking that the garbage collectors will be the ones to separate them. This kind of thinking slows down the recycling process and can lead to huge inefficiencies.

According to many researchers, as many as 94 percent of the population of the United States have access to a recycling program, but not everyone knows how they can make it simpler and more efficient. If you are one of these people who want to ensure your home’s recycling efforts don’t go to waste, follow the tips listed below today.

Sort Properly

The most basic tenet of recycling is sorting. Materials that belong together need to be put in their proper bins or containers to ensure recycling centers and garbage collectors know where to send them. But why should you do this work beforehand? Sorting your recycling helps make the job of recycling centers immeasurably easier, saving on time and money. The faster they can recycle your unwanted materials, the more they can do for the same amount of energy and resources in a single day. Although sorting technologies are being developed to help businesses, beginning at home ensures the process is much more effective.

Be Aware

It would be best if you did at least a modicum of research on what items you can and cannot put in your recycling bin. For example, PVC is a type of plastic that can be found in everything from body bags for heavy-duty use to the pipes and plumbing all over your house. Most forms of PVC can be recycled easily as long as you sort and clean them properly. On the other hand, items that may seem recyclable can be almost impossible to reuse. For example, bubble wrap may seem like another type of plastic you can reuse, but its construction and materials prevent recyclers from doing so. Doing your research prevents non-recyclable items from spoiling recyclable goods during processing.

Clean Is Good

The cleanliness and the condition of the materials you put in your recycling bin also matter. Cross-contamination of products can spoil an entire batch of recycled plastic or other materials. One of the most common forms of contaminants recycling materials can encounter grease and food stains. This is why greasy pizza boxes and food containers don’t get recycled, especially if the grease saturates the cardboard. Another way products can become impossible to recycle if materials are mixed in their construction. For example, using acrylic on canvas bags makes the bags themselves unrecyclable because it’s too costly to remove the paint. Carefully check each item you put into the recycling and give each one a rinse to remove possible contaminants.

Keep Glass Intact

Glass is one of the most durable substances known to science. If left alone and without damage, glass can last thousands of years. However, glass can only be recycled and reused easily if it remains intact. For example, wine bottles can be turned into wall inserts for light openings, transformed into the base of table lamps, or even turned into works of art. Jars can be used as plant pots, storage containers, and lighting rigs.

But broken glass and shards can be extremely difficult to recycle. First, different types of glass require different kinds of processes, and if they’re reduced to shards, it isn’t easy to sort them. Finally, remelting and remaking glass from broken shards is almost as environmentally costly as making new glass. So keep your glass and ceramic items as intact as possible if you plan on giving them up for recycling.

Separate Contaminants

Finally, enhancing recycling processes also means ensuring the safety of the people who manage it. This means removing contaminants that could sicken or injure recycling plant employees. Your municipality should have guidelines on what you should never include in your recycling bin. Common items you shouldn’t put in there include anything that came into contact with human fluids, such as syringes, used diapers, and toilet paper. Spoiled food, animal waste, and dead bodies are potential contaminants you don’t want to put in the bin.

Recycling may seem complicated to beginners, but it will become immensely easier as long as you do the research and put in the work. Enhancing your household’s recycling processes not only makes the job of sanitation workers easier, but it also helps do the work of preventing environmental damage easier for all involved.+

Vinh Van Lam
the authorVinh Van Lam
Vinh Van Lam, co-founder of ArtSHINE, is a visionary art coach and entrepreneur with a passion for fostering creativity. With a diverse background in art and business, he brings a unique perspective to empower emerging artists, enabling them to thrive in the dynamic art industry through the innovative platform of ArtSHINE.

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