Recycling efforts in the U.S. have been nothing short of miraculous in the last few decades. The EPA estimates that in 2013 we recycled or composted 87 million tons of the 254 million tons of trash that was generated. Compare that to 1985 when just 16.7 million tons of trash was recycled and it’s clear that more people have made recycling a priority.
Many factors influence how much we recycle. The availability of recycling pickup services is highly influential, but so are our daily habits. If you want to clean up your act and increase your recycling, start building the good habits below.
Invest in an Indoor Recycling Container
Wherever you put your regular trashcan, put a recycling bin right beside it. Every time you go to throw something away it will make you think twice about whether it can be recycled instead of simply thrown out.
Become More Familiar With Recyclables
When you know what can and can’t be recycled garbage is more likely to end up where it needs to be. Recycling symbols make it easy on plastics, but that’s only one type of recyclable material. For the next week or so make it a habit to read through the EPA’s list of common recyclables until you’ve got a firm grasp on what should go in the blue recycling bin. You’ll also need to check with your local waste management provider to understand what their facility is capable of processing.
Keep Reducing and Reusing in Mind Too
Before you think about recycling, consider ways you can reduce the amount of waste you and/or your family produces and how items can be reused. Waste reduction addresses the problem before it becomes a problem and reusing an item is even greener than recycling. Start by making it a habit to buy high quality goods that are built to last. Next, make it a habit to reduce your portion sizes whether it’s food, hygiene products, cleaners, etc. Another way to reduce waste is to buy in bulk or use products that aren’t packaged.
Consider Recycling Before You Buy
Today consumers have more choices than ever, which can be a good thing for recycling. Make it a habit to always consider the recycling or reuse options before you buy. That way you can choose the option that’s easier to recycle right from the start.
Have a Waste Free Day
Last year when Coco-Cola and OpenIDEO announced a competition that focused on coming up with creative ways to improve people’s recycling habits the reaction was huge. One of the best ideas that made it to the final eight was remarkably simple – Waste Free Wednesdays. It’s based on the popular Meat Free Mondays concept. One day a week (Wednesday) make it a goal to not use any items that would end up in a landfill. By using only recyclables and compostable materials you’ll be thinking all day about the waste you’re generating.
At Dumpsters.biz we’re doing our part to increase the rate of recycling by providing trash separation for our dumpster rental customers. All you have to do is throw everything into one container, and we’ll separate out the recyclables. That way no recyclables end up at the landfill.