Inspiration to Recycle and Reuse

Recycling can be a great way to help organize and down size. Getting rid of things that can be recycled is a great way to help the environment both in the world and in your home.

In preserving our planet the most important thing we can do is to recycle. There are more that 100 million people in America recycling old and used materials from offices and homes. Are you trying to decide what to recycle and which things just need to go in the garbage or even the compost pile? Here is a list of ways many things can be reused or recycled:

1. Newspaper- About one third of the waste in the US today is newspaper and scrap paper. Recycling paper saves energy, conserves resources and helps it to not end up in landfills. Just set up a bin next to your regular garbage for papers. If paper is very dirty or soiled it is best to put it in the compost pile. Grease or oil is not a big problem because that paper will be recycled through a heat process but food is the worst of contaminants and should not be put in with the other newspaper to recycle. Newspaper can also be used as compost, and kindling for a fire. A wadded up piece of newspaper can be used to dry and put a shine on windows. It can be used to make hats, planes, kite and for a very different way of wrapping a gift.

2 .Aluminum- Aluminum is a lower end scrap metal and can be recycled over and over again. A can will be recycled and back on the shelf within 60 days. Aluminum cans can be used for fundraising and turned in to schools and organizations to help with funding. Recycling these cans can also bring more money into households. Only 5% of the energy needed to create comparable raw materials is used to recycle aluminum. There are about 10,000 aluminum recycling centers in the U.S. alone and the industry has a current value of $1 billion per year. Brazil topped the aluminum can recycling charts for eight years in a row recycling 98.2% of all aluminum produced. More than 80 trillion aluminum can are produced in the US annually and fifty percent of these are from recycled cans.

3. PET plastic bottles- These are made of Polyethylene terephthalate and are actually used for the material they are made of and have a resin identification code on the bottom with a 1 in the middle of a universal recycling symbol. Did you know that about 25 billion bottles of single serving water will be purchased this year? According to the Container Recycling Institute about 80 percent of these will end up in the landfill. Why not fix a bin by your garbage for them instead? Because plastic bottles are the most commonly used they are the easiest to recycle. And this uses two thirds less energy than the making of new plastic.

4. Steel cans- In North America more than 80 million tons are recycled yearly. And steel can be recycled without breaking down the quality of the steel. This recycling saves the equivalent of power to 18 million homes on a yearly basis. You will want to clean out the can and lid, then place the lid inside. They can be smashed to save space. If it is a paint can use up all of the product and then leave the lid off in order for it to dry. If there is just a thin layer of paint they can be recycled. Just place the lid back on it.

5. Glass containers-Glass containers include soft drink and beer bottles, wine and liquor bottles, as well as bottles and jars for food and other products. Recycling just one glass container can save enough energy to light one 100-watt bulb for about four hours. Recycling glass helps save 50 percent less water pollution and 20 percent less air pollution. Using 50 percent of recycled materials making one ton of glass can save 250 pounds of mining waste. The recovered glass material is also used for road construction and fiberglass used in insulation.

6. Magazines and mixed paper-Every year people throw away enough paper to make a 12 foot wall from New York to California. This is sad when recycled paper saves 60 percent of energy used to produce it. This helps to generate 95 percent less air pollution and recycling one ton of paper saves 7,000 gallons of water and 17 trees. There is just no reason to not recycle paper. You can also donate your garden, home and fashion magazines to your local self service laundries, hospital waiting rooms, beauty salons, or doctor's offices. Junk mail and magazines can used for collage of decoupage projects. Some pages can be used for origami and even paper-mache pinatas.

7.Corrugated cardboard- In 1996 America used 29 million tons of old corrugated cardboard. Ninety percent of that comes from businesses and commercial areas not residential. There are two types of cardboard. There is the corrugated cardboard that is used to make brown packing boxes which has the wavy inner layer and makes up a sort of sandwich affair with single cardboard on either side. Then there is the paperboard or chipboard. The single layer gray cardboard is used to make all manner of different packages including shoe and cereal boxes. If you don't have an immediate use for the box break it down and recycle it.

8. HDPE plastic bottles- This means high-density polyethylene and is used in bleach, cosmetics and shampoo, detergent, yogurt, margarine and milk jugs and bottles. It can be identified by a logo at the bottom of the bottle with three arrows in the shape of a triangle. By checking the number inside you can see where the bottle needs to be recycled. A number 1 and 2 means it can be recycled almost any place. A 3 through to 7 is just in limited areas. Be sure to empty and clean out the bottle or this could contaminate the process of recycling. Be sure to wash under running water to get rid of any remaining food. Caps and labels should be removed because these are made from non-recyclable products. This type of plastic is re-utilized for things such as plastic furniture or lumber and natural gas pipeline.

9. Computers-There are several ways to recycle computers. They should not be just thrown away because they contain large amounts of lead and other toxic materials. Giving or donating them to friends, family or organizations is one way to help in the process. Non-working ones can be sent to centers where they are taken apart and the valuable components are re-used. You can call the manufacturer of the computer to find out about where to send them. You can also check out ( which buys old electronics and computer scraps.

Be sure to check with your local garbage pick-up service for what things they will pick up for recycling and which things you will need to take to a recycling center. You can check online or in the phone book for local recycling centers. It is a good idea to rinse out bottles or cans and this keeps a cleaner area.

Eve Sherrill York

About Eve Sherrill York

Have written online for several years on many subjects. Also use the username 'celticeagle'.

Eve Sherrill York

Top Posts | Reduce, Reuse, Recycle