Recycling: Ideas you can Start Using Today

By: Bruce Tucker

A solar panel system can run into the tens of thousands of dollars, a wind turbine takes up too much room and your budget is already stretched to the hilt. So what can one do to do their part in cleaning up the environment? The answer is simple. You can recycle.

Recycling is more than just separating your trash into bins and waiting around for the right company to come and get it from your curb. Recycling is a process by which stuff you no longer need or use can be reused by someone or something else for a specific purpose.

For example, there are companies out there that recycle old tires. But they donít recycle them into new tires, no, they melt them down and use the left over material as a road paving compound, or they mix it with gypsum for drywall and a whole slew of other things. Of course that is on the larger scale of solutions. We want to talk about the smaller scale such as a friend of mine who takes old wooden pallets and turns them into outdoor furniture. He obviously has a skill in woodworking, but he has been able to translate that skill into a business that also recycles. These are the ideas we will touch on here today.

Do you use aluminum foil? Of course you do, unless you donít cook or store anything in the refrigerator or freezer. Aluminum foil is one of those products that can easily be recycled and people do not realize it. From now on do not throw your aluminum foil away. Instead wash it clean just like you would a dish, flatten the foil out and save it for a later day. Obviously if it is savable you would do this. You can easily save yourself two to four rolls every year. Imagine if every family in America did this? With 300 million families and growing, you can see the immense savings and impact on the environment.

A birthday is a happy time (or at least it should be). Most of the time you get to spend it with family and friends. A huge waste is the wrapping paper to cover the gifts. Sure it looks nice, but in a matter of seconds you quickly have a big pile of paper that ends up in the trash. Here is a better solution. Wrap your gifts in the comics section of the newspaper. The mere word comics can be associated with being happy which birthdays are. You save on wrapping paper, the comic section can be recycled by the gift recipient, and everyone (including the environment) is happy.

They say one manís trash is another manís treasure, so why are you hoarding or throwing away treasure? You know what I am talking about, your basement full of crap that you will never use. Somebody somewhere has a need for the items that you are saving (and will never use) or throwing away. Post an ad on craigslist in the free section to get rid of it, post items up for sale on eBay, have a yard sale, donate them to a church, before you throw them away and they end up in a landfill, make sure someone else does not need them.

A big impact on the environment could be less use of plastic shopping bags. They take hundreds of years to decompose and invariably end up in a landfill somewhere and forgotten about. Do yourself and the environment a favor, switch to reusable clothe shopping bags. My supermarket sells them for ninety-nine cents, they come with about twenty dollars in coupon savings and they give me a nickel per bag for each bag I use when I go shopping. In other words I get that ninety-nine cents back very quickly. Since I started using clothe bags (about a year now), I have reduced my need of nearly 260 plastic bags. If everyone did that the savings from plastic bags would be into the millions if not billions.

My final idea to give you that I use is to switch your lawn mower blade to a mulching blade. It cost me about $20 and a half hour of my time but it was well worth it. A mulching blade cuts the grass into fine particles so you do not have to bag the grass, and put it out to the curb to get picked up. Your grass clippings will serve as great nutrients for your lawn and you will save a paper bag, trash pick up and landfill space. Not bad for twenty bucks! This investment pays for itself in less than half a season, maybe even sooner depending on how big your lawn is and how often you mow it.

As you can see none of these ideas is life altering. With a few minor adjustments to the way you do certain tasks, you can be well on your way to making a huge impact on the environment in no time.

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