Monday, April 6, 2009

Going Green: Recycle

It absolutely amazes me that there are still people out there that do not recycle. In fact, we have family members who don't (you know who you are) and it drives me batty. And its no even that it is not available, they actually have curbside recycling with their trash and still don't do it. I just don't get it. So I thought that this week's Going Green tip would focus on recycling.

What is recycling? Recycling is the process of taking products that are at the end of their life cycle and using all or part of them to make something else. About half of the United States population is serviced by curbside recycling. The most common recyclable materials are aluminum, glass, paper, plastic and steel and the most popular form of curbside recycling is dual-stream. Usually you will have to put containers in one bin and newspaper/paper is another bin. Rising in popularity now is single-stream recycling. We are fortunate that our garbage company switched to this last year. We have a 64-gallon bin that goes out every other week. With single-stream, many more things are accepted for recycling and it all can go in one bin. For example, when we had dual-stream recycling, they only accepted #1 and #2 plastics. Now that we have single-stream, they take ALL numbered (1 through 7) plastics. That makes me happy!

There is also more to recycling then just plastic bottles and newspapers. You also need to know how to properly dispose of hazardous waste. For instance, did you know that your used batteries should NOT be thrown in the trash? Batteries in landfills and incinerators can release heavy metal and toxins into the air and water. So what do you do with them? Many big retailers, like staples, will take your old batteries at no charge. They will recycle them if possible otherwise they will dispose of them properly. In my town, we also have a "household hazardous waste" collection day in the fall where you can bring things like batteries, paint cans, pesticides, etc. down to our recycling center.

A great site to visit for recycling information and tips is They will break town all the different recyclable materials an how each is recycled. They also have information on how to get curbside recycling started in your own community if you don't have it. Want to know where to turn in those old batteries? They have a nifty search widget where you type in the item you want to recycle and your zip code. By typing in "batteries" and my zip code, I found out that Staples, Walmart and Radio Shack all take old batteries! This is actually new information to me and I'm excited because now I don't need to hold on to all those batteries till September.

So go over to and learn some more about recycling. And please do your best to recycle at home, at school and at work.

Now for a question. When I am visiting my family the doesn't recycle, is it rude for me to take the empty bottles and cans home with me to recycle? My last visit I brought my stainless steel bottle full of water because I knew they would only have bottled water. But then I watched everyone else throwing their bottles and soda cans in the trash and it upset me. What can I do without crossing the line?


  1. Sometimes I think living by example is all you can do and you seem to be doing that beautifully!

  2. If it's rude to take them home than I'm very rude! I always take my recyclables with me if I can't recycle them where I am.

    Now going through there trash and getting the recyclables out of the trash, that would be rude haha.

    I live in a town that doesn't have curbside recycling so I know more people that don't recycle than do. It's sad.

  3. Thanks for the post. I think if your family knows you are into recycling and you ask them to put the cans and bottles into a bag so you can take them with you, that is not rude. If it is no extra work for them why would they care?


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