We all want to do whatever we can to save our planet, but it can be confusing to figure out how, and sometimes it can feel like our daily actions are too small to make a difference. If this sounds familiar, don’t worry!
There are plenty of things we can do as individuals to help our planet—and recycling is one of them. But it’s important to do it right so that your efforts don’t go to waste. Thankfully, we’ve put together a handy guide on how to recycle to help you get started! But first, let's take a look at the facts, here are just a few short stats about plastic waste.
What Clothes to Recycle:
Any article of clothing or fabrics that you no longer want or need.
How to Recycle Clothing:
Which Plastics to Recycle
Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET):Food and drink packaging, water bottles, cosmetic packaging, containers of household cleaners.
How to Recycle PET plastic:
Rinse, remove bottle caps, and place in your recycling bin. Check with your town to find out what to do with the caps, as they are usually made from a different type of plastic. Some will accept them, while others may ask you to throw them away. Bonus points if you save them for crafts or other household reuses!
High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE): Grocery bags, opaque milk jugs, juice containers, shampoo bottles, medicine bottles.
How to Recycle HDPE Plastic:
HDPE waste is accepted by most curbside recycling programs, although some municipalities will only allow containers with necks. In these cases, you know the drill: rinse, remove caps, and place in your bin! Flimsier HDPE plastics like grocery bags and plastic wrap generally cannot be recycled (and regularly jam up machinery recycling facilities), but some stores will accept and dispose of them properly.
While each municipality varies in what it will accept, plastics #1 and #2 are the most consistently recycled. Plastics #3-7 are harder to deal with and often end up getting incinerated or filling landfills as a result.That’s why we recommend phasing out these plastics altogether—at least until we figure out better ways to deal with them.
What Types of Glass to Recyle:
Bottles and Jars
How to Recycle Glass:
Check with your local recycling facility for specific glass recycling guidelines. In general: remove metal caps and place clean, unbroken bottles in a bin (depending on whether your municipality practices single-stream or dual-stream recycling, you may need to have glass and plastic in separate bins), carefully separated from paper products.
No matter what you do, keep trying your best and you'll be a recycling hero in no time!
What Types of Wood to Recycle:
Tree limbs, untreated scrap lumber, wooden home goods like wooden bowls and toys.
How to Recycle Wood:
IWood recycling will depend on the type of wood. Tree limbs and untreated scrap lumber can either be chipped and used as mulch or added to compost. Or, in some municipalities, bundled for curbside pickup. If not, find a nearby wood recycler. Scrap lumber can also be donated to your local Habitat for Humanity Restore or other nonprofit home improvement store. If in good condition, wooden home goods should be donated to your local thrift store. Treated or painted wood, particleboard, and chipboard often contain toxic compounds or glues and cannot be safely burned or recycled. These will have to be taken to your local landfill.
Looking for more ideas? Learn from the world's most famous conservationists!
What Types of Paper to Recycle:
Office paper, newsprint, wrapping paper, tissue paper, paper packaging, shipping boxes etc..
How to Recyle Paper
What Types of Paper Cannot be Recycled:
Most wrapping paper can’t be recycled because it’s coated, so look for recycled or recyclable wrapping paper and gift bags and reuse as many times as possible. The same goes for plastic coated ice cream tubs, to-go coffee cups, and coated paper packaging.
If you don’t have curbside pickup, search for your nearest cardboard recycling center.
And finally: when shopping, look for products that are made from recycled paper.
Download our free guide to recycling! Pin it to the fridge or near the recycling bin to regulate recycling habits in your family.
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