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Learn How to Recycle - Recycling Tips

Even Kids Can Learn How to Recycle

Learning to recycle is important to teach children from a young age.

Recycle Paper

When recycling paper there are a few things you should know.

  • Newspapers should have a separate bin, because old newspapers are recycled into new news papers.
  • All other paper materials can be stored in the same bin, except for carbon paper, stickers, cardboard, laminated paper, or laminated cardboard, which cannot be recycled.
  • Plastic-lined paper drink cartons are recyclable and are accepted at most recycling centers, but to be on the safe side check with your local recycling center.
  • Corrugated cardboard when being prepped for pick up by the recycling center should be baled together and tied with a string. Its important to check with you local recycling center to see how much cardboard should be baled together. Its also important not to include greasy, wet, or waxy coated corrugated cardboard with your bale because these kinds of cardboard will clog the recycling machines.

Recycle Plastic

Recycling plastic items is a slightly more complicated than paper. For one thing plastic goods are numbered to grade them for recycling. #1 PET (Polyethylene), #2 HDPE (High-density polyethylene) , #4 LDPE (Low-density polyethylene) , #5 PP (Polypropylene), #6 PS (Polystyrene), and #7 (other plastics that do not fall into any of the previously mentioned categories, like melamine which is often used in plastic plates and cups).

  • Plastic bottles are made from #1 PET plastic, which is highly valuable because it can be ’spun’ into fleece fabric. Although bottles made of PET should not be reused.
  • Plastic grocery bags are made of high density polyethylene, a #2 recyclable plastic. These grocery bags can be dropped in the bins outside of the grocery store, however not all grocery stores have this.
  • Polystyrene (#6), used to make cups, food trays, egg cartons, etc., are not biodegradable. However may recycling center now accept this type of recyclable, so check with your local recycling center to see if they accept polystyrene.
  • Polypropylene (#5) is used to make food wraps and bottle tops, and for packaging yogurt, cottage cheese, margarine, and vitamins. An important fact, its one of the least expensive and one of the safest plastics to make, but the recycling process is less efficient than other plastics, resulting in little market value, so its important to find ways to reuse these items made polypropylene without having to engage in the recycling process.

Recycle Glass

Glass is another item to recycle, and is relatively easy to recycle. Its sorted by color and by composition. For instance glass bottles will be sorted into three groups: clear, green, and brown, but items made of a different composition, such as store light bulbs, mirrors, Pyrex, and sheet glass will be completely separate from the glass bottle category simply because of the difference in composition. Its also good to keep in mind that compact fluorescent light bulbs can be recycled at your local IKEA store, or Home Depot.

Reuse but not Recycle

Most electronic equiptment is not able to be recycled but can be re-used by people without.

Recycle Electronics

Electronics such as computers, printers, cell phones, rechargeable batteries, and hardware are not recyclable, but they can be reused.

Recycle Metal

Metals that can be recycled (aluminum, steel, and copper) are extremely important recyclables. For instance, copper is one of the most recycled and recyclable metals, because its 100 percent recyclable, and recycling it requires only 1 percent of the total energy otherwise consumed in mining, milling, smelting, and refining. Also aluminum foil and aluminum foil packaging are important to recycle because they are reprocessed into aluminum mechanical components, such as engine parts. However, like recycling almost anything else you need to remember a few things before sorting your metals.

  • Remember that food cans should be rinsed, have labels removed, and should be flattened, however flattening is optional.
  • When recycling aluminum cans many recycling centers request that they not be crushed flat. However, always check with local recycling center.
  • Paint cans, aerosol cans are recyclable but are considered hazardous waste and need to be kept separate from other metals. Be sure to leave labels on cans so recyclers know what the former contents of the can were, and also try to return lid along with empty paint cans.

Recycle Green Waste

Compost Pile

A compost pile is just one way that you can recycle green waste.

Recycling green waste is 100 percent recyclable, but is a messy job that requires a lot of extra work. There are a few options to choose from if you decide to recycle your green waste, which is making a green waste bin (if there is a green waste pick up in your local area, be sure to check), making your own compost pile, making your own vermicompost bin, or grass cycling.

  • When you start a green waste bin usually only grass clippings, tree branches, and other excess from grooming your yard should be put in the bin for pick up.
  • When starting a compost pile, basically find an area in your back yard, or somewhere where you don't mind digging a small hole and burying your food waste for the worms to feast on. The compost provides nutrients to the soil, and can serve as a natural fertilizer for plants.
  • Vermicomposting seems simple enough; worm bin, worms, and food waste. Then the worms eat the food waste and poop it out, yielding the precious vermicompost. Yet, it is not that simple, there's a little bit of technique that vermicomposting requires otherwise consequences could result in something catastrophic.

First you need to acquire a bin, a 12 gallon storage tub or any medium sized container. Make sure that the worm bin's temperature remains around 55 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit; be sure that the climate you've set up for your worms doesn't go off tangent otherwise worms could die from what is to them extreme cold or extreme heat. Also be sure the bin doesn't allow light to shine through, because worms like it in the dark. Then use a ¼ to ½ inch drill bit to drill several holes through out the bottom of the bin to provide air flow. Elevate bin just a little bit, using small wooden blocks, or anything that will allow drainage; be sure to secure 2-3 inches from each corner of the bottom of the bin. Then place a tray underneath to collect drainage. Also its good to insert bedding such as peat moss, office paper, coconut fiber, or shredded cardboard or newspaper.

Remember when feeding the worms offer them a varied diet. Meat is not recommended because can produce strong odors. Its also good to puree food waste, because it can help speed up the worm poop process, as well as feeding the worms ground up egg shell, and oyster shell ’flour.’ Its important to separate the bin into four quadrants, and bury in the food in a different quadrant a day or two later to circulate the worms throughout the bin.

  • When grass cycling set mower to cut a little long, and leave clippings out on lawn. Doing this makes it so there is no need to empty bags after mowing, reducing the amount of water needed for your lawn, therefore eliminating the need to fertilize, which in turn reduces the toxic runoff from storm drains into creeks and lakes.

Recycle Motor Oil

This recyclable is important because it can be re-refined, and is easy to collect by changing your oil yourself, and by dropping off your used motor oil at your nearest collection site earth911.com.

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