Recycle at Home!
Katharine Prince | Oct 8, 2014
Title: Contributor
Topic category: Creating A Greener Home


Newspapers should be saved in its own bin, as this material goes directly back into newsprint recycling. Recycling a four-foot stack of newspapers saves the equivalent of one 40-foot fir tree.

Magazines, glossy printed flyers or newspaper inserts, phone books, envelopes, computer paper, old letters, and paper packaging can be saved together in one bin.

Staples on paper are acceptable, but remove rubber bands or plastic wrap. Do not include the following in your paper recycling: carbon paper, stickers, cardboard, laminated paper, laminated cardboard.

Discard fast food wrappers made from plastic, dirty or food-stained paper tissues or napkins.

Corrugated cardboard is a highly valued recyclable. Most curbside collectors ask you to bale the cardboard together and tie it with string. Check to see if there are size and weight limits to how much you are allowed to bale together. The most important thing to remember is to keep it dry. Plastic or waxy coated, and wet or greasy cardboard, such as pizza boxes, cannot be recycled because it clogs sorting machines.


Plastic goods are assigned different numbers to grade them for recycling:
#1 (PET) and #2 (HDPE) for containers, #4 (LDPE) for bags, #7 for mixed plastics such as polycarbonates that are not recyclable. Almost all recycling centers accept plastics #1 and 2.

Plastic bottles are usually made of #1 PET plastic, a valuable recyclable material. Among many other items, this plastic can be "spun' into fleece fabric. Tops should be removed before recycling, and put in with your general plastic items. Polycarbonate baby bottles (#7 plastic) are not recyclable.
Because it is difficult to clean PET plastic without releasing harmful chemicals, bottles made of PET should not be reused.

Plastic grocery bags- most grocery bags are made of high density polyethylene, a Type 2 recyclable plastic. Most grocery stores have bins outside so customers can drop off used plastic bags for recycling.

Polystyrene(#6) (cups, food trays, egg cartons, etc.) does not biodegrade. Ask if your recycling center accepts polystyrene for recycling; many now accept this material. Try to reduce your use of this material.


Glass is recycled according to color: clear, green, brown and. Recycling centers prefer it when the glass is separated this way. Collectively, these types of glass are referred to as "container" glass, and widely accepted for recycling. Paper labels can be left on the glass.

Light Store bulbs, sheet glass, mirror Pyrex and separately from bottles, since they have a different composition and melting points, and not accepted by many recycling centers.

Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) may be recycled at your local IKEA store.


Food cans should be rinsed and have lids and labels removed. It helps if they are flattened, although many new cans are difficult to flatten; they should still be recycled.

Aluminum cans are very valuable as recyclable items. Many recycling centers request they be not crushed flat. Check locally.

Aluminum foil and packaging are also important to recycle; they are reprocessed into aluminum mechanical components, such as engine parts.

Paint cans, aerosol cans are recyclable, but are considered hazardous waste and need to be kept separate from other metals. It is important to leave labels on these cans, as recyclers need to know the former contents. Try to return the lids along with empty paint cans.

Copper is one of the most recycled and recyclable metals. In fact, copper is 100 percent recyclable, as are all its alloys, such as bronze brassand . The recycling of copper requires only 15% of the total energy otherwise consumed in mining, milling, smelting and refining.

Electronic Goods -computers, printers and hardware:

Pass it on. The simplest solution to recycling your old computer. Ask at a local school or put a notice on a community bulletin board offering your computer free for the taking. Many people without a computer will still find use with the word processor and basic programs.

Cell phones and rechargeable batteries: -Office Depot will collect, free of charge, all old cell phones and used rechargeable batteries for recycling, including Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd), Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH), Lithium Ion (Li-ion), and Small Sealed Lead (Pb) weighing less than 2 lbs/1 kg. These batteries are also commonly found in other portable office electronics products including cordless phones, laptop computers, PDAs, digital cameras, and portable printers.

You can also call 1-800-8-BATTERY to find out which stores in your area have free recycling programs for rechargeable batteries.


Visityour local recycling center and find out what materials they accept for recycling. Then set up your bins accordingly. To find the recycling center nearest you, call: 1 800-CLEANUP

Putstorage bins in place -The key to a successful home recycling program is the storage bin setup. Once you learn which materials your local recycling center accepts, set up a corresponding storage bin system. The garage is a good place to locate the bins; if using an open car port the lids will need to be covered to secure the contents from pests and wind. Once your system is set up, recycling is easy!

Use plastic bags or totes to store materials for recycling. Paper bags can be leaky, and rip easily. Try to use smaller containers, as they will be easier to lift when full. Label recycling bins to ensure materials are separated correctly.

Choose products with the highest percentage of "post-consumer" recycled content
Two types of recycled materials are used in manufacturing products and packaging:
Pre-consumer- often referred to as mill scraps recycled internally at manufacturing plants.
Post-consumer- returned by consumers, through recycling programs, to the manufacturing process.

Clean bottles and tins before putting in the recycling bin. This prevents flies both at home and the recycling station.

Put a 'no junk mail' sticker on your letter box. You'll be amazed at how much this reduces your rubbish.

Join the Freecycle™ movement- the idea is simple: you give away for free what you have and don’t need and you receive for free what you need, but don’t have. This ‘free cycle’ of goods keeps lots of useful stuff out of landfill sites and is about thinking globally and recycling locally.


Packaging: Boxes for foods such as cereal, crackers and cake mix. Bottles containing liquid laundry detergent, dish washing liquids, shampoos and household cleaners.

Paper products: Facial tissue, toilet paper, napkins, paper towels, greeting cards, writing paper and corrugated cardboard shipping boxes.

Plastic products: Coat hangers, desk accessories, storage organizers, patio furniture, playground equipment and toys.
Automotive: Re-refined motor oil, retread tires, rebuilt/re-manufactured parts and used cars.

Garden Supplies: Hoses, planters and mulch.

Clothing and accessories: Tennis shoes and hiking boots. Clothing fabric made of recycled plastic bottles.

Home maintenance: Carpeting, door mats, roofing, wallboard, paint, insulation, gutters and downspouts, siding and flooring.

Tags: The Green Homestead, Recycle at Home, eartheasy.com, Solutions for Sustainable Living, Recycling Basics for the Home, Creating a Green Home
comments powered by Disqus