We live in an increasingly disposable society, where goods are built to die. As a consequence, our world is overflowing with rubbish. You can reduce your contribution to this rapidly increasing trash pile and decrease your trash footprint. The best way is to recycle: you will help decrease pollution and greenhouse gasses and ensure animals do not lose their habitats. Read on for practical ways to start recycling at home.
Start With Yourself
The easiest way to start recycling is to look at your own habits. Look at the goods you use at home – this is the potential recyclable waste you have control over. The next time you buy groceries or something new (i.e. a mobile phone, printer cartridge, ream of paper, etc.) be conscious of the items you would usually throw away that can, in fact, be recycled.
And once you are comfortable recycling your own things, you can expand your sphere of influence. Lead by example and you may influence your friends and neighbours to recycle.
Identify Items to Recycle at Home
All you need to start recycling at home is a basic knowledge of what can be recycled. Here are some common household items:
- Old newspapers, magazines and books
- Junk mail
- Waste paper
- Paper packaging (including cardboard)
- Plastic bottles and containers
- Glass bottles and containers, and;
- Old mobile phones, computers and laptops, among many others.
Collecting Items for Recycling at Home
After identifying recyclable items, you need to sort them by type.
All unwanted paper and glass materials can be grouped together. However, as not all plastic items are readily recyclable, they should be organised according to their types.
Plastic is non-biodegradable, and takes thousands of years to decompose. Despite this, plastic is the most commonly disposed product, and is a leading cause of pollution.
The following types of plastic are readily recyclable:
- Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) – Commonly used in soft drink bottles and food containers
- High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) – HDPE is used to make beverage bottles with a short shelf-life (i.e. milk and juice). It is also used for bottles containing household chemicals (i.e. detergent, shampoo and conditioner). It is also used to construct pipes, buckets, pens, sheets and doghouses.
- Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) – Rigid PVC plastic is used to make bottles, pipes and fittings, among other things. And flexible PVC is used in wire and cable insulation.
- Polystyrene (PS) – PS is used to manufacture rulers, foam packaging, plates and cups, among other things.