How Recycling Helps the Environment

Climate change has been a big topic of conversation for some time and it’s hard to disagree that there are dramatic shifts in our planets weather when each year we face monster storms and tsunamis that devastate the earth. Though the best course of action to prevent global warming is not yet known, we can start by practicing reducing, reusing and recycling  to make the change that is needed for a healthier lifestyle.

Recycling is one the best ways to care for the environment and to make sure that we leave our children have a cleaner, greener earth. Doing all that we can to help the environment is the only way to ensure a positive impact on climate change that will make a healthier world to live in and leave a legacy of care for future generations. By recycling as much waste as we can, we care for the planet, but we also educate others demonstrating that the little things we do make a big difference. That education starts like most other things – in the home.

MAKE IT A HOME HABIT

Recycling needs to become a habit in your home. Make space for bins in various rooms in your house that can be used to collect recyclables. You can either make color coded bins for different items that can be recycled like organic waste, paper, bottles, plastics, cans and tins, or you can collect them in one bin and sort them later. It’s important to have somewhere to put recyclable material so that it is visible and there is no excuse to not recycle. Put these bins in the rooms most likely to produce the waste, such a kitchen for organic waste, family room for bottles or cans and the office den for paper. Make sure you model good recycling ethics by recycling all you can and encouraging others to do so.

WHERE TO RECYCLE

Many people do not recycle as they do not know where to take their used items. There are many recycling stations in your area that will accept your used items and put them to good use.

Thrift stores will accept used household items and clothes and provide them for those who need quality products at a reduced cost. Some hospitals also accept clothes for patients and items such as baby buggys for certain wards. Contact them and they will explain what they need.

Local recycling stations will advertise in the phone directory, newspapers and online for recyclable items with the bonus that they often pay for them. They make a profit from their recyclables and pass that on to the recyclers. Some of them even offer a collection service if you have enough items, and suggest you get together with neighbors, school or church groups to make it profitable. If you are looking for a way to raise money, a bottle drive is a great way to raise cash by collecting the bottles people have paid a deposit for and taking them back to the recycling depot who give you back the deposit.

Local governments also have ‘Freecycle’ weekends where you can put out your unused items that are in good working order on the front lawn, and people drive round collecting what they need at no charge. After that there is usually a large pick up arranged by the council to take away what you do not need, and dispose of it in an environmentally friendly way.

Many local governments also have a weekly recycling collection from the curbside. Each place is different in what it can recycle and the way it is recycled, but it is easy to organize items and then place the bins out on the curb to be collected.

Online internet sites can also be used to sell your unwanted items, or give them away. There are auction sites, but also buy and sell sites and a rising number of free sites where you simply advertise your item and someone comes and takes it away. All are great examples of recycling.

WHAT CAN BE RECYCLED

There are very few things that cannot be recycled into something new. It’s just a matter of collecting them together and knowing where to take them. Look for the recycling logo which is usually on the bottom of the item to know what it is, and if it can be recycled.

Organic matter such as food waste, egg and fish shells, bones, oil and grease can be composted into earth friendly fertilizer at no cost. You can even buy your own composter and make your own. It takes very little attention and creates the best nourishment the earth needs.

Metals such as tin, aluminum, iron, steel and precious metals like gold can all be recycled. Disposable pie plates and take out containers, food cans, foil wrap and drinks cans can be collected and melted down to make more metal. There is a constant need for this kind of recyclable, so recycle as much as you can.

Glass is another consumable that can be easily melted down to make more products. At the end of its life, glass can also be made into garden mulch, a road coating or insulation for thermal mugs.

Plastics come in different varieties and can be made into insulation for sleeping bags and ski jackets, flower pots, garden furniture, house siding, plastic lumber and other household items such as pens, cups and plastic foodware.

Wood can be remade into other items, and furniture and useable household goods are very desirable and also recyclable through many sources. All of them provide great ways to reduce, reuse and recycle.

By making a little effort in recycling your used items, you can improve the health of the planet and make the earth a better place to live in.

Like what we’re doing? Want to share your story or tell others? Do you have a green business in Calgary and want to get in front of a large local audience? Let’s build a green community together!