Previously, this was a blog mostly to harass my poor friends and family with the details of my life. Don't worry-- that will continue. However, I'm also going to use this as a terrible forum for dialogue about green tips and eco-revolutions. Hopefully it will be helpful and entertaining...

Sunday, May 03, 2009

The First of Many Green Tips: Recycling

Many green and eco bloggers out there have written about the importance of staying motivated and being aware of how awesome you are for trying to green your life-- basically, making sure you don't become discouraged. Just like exercise and diets and any other semi-daily habits, it's something that you have to work at every day but also be proud of what you have already done every day. That's what I tell myself, anyways.

For that reason, instead of trying to tackle the goal of BEING GREEN, it seems wiser to give yourself a specific goal-- you can feel that you're making a difference in that area rather than feeling the huge amount of stuff you've yet to do.

With that in mind, my main goal for right now, until I've feel I've accomplished it is to THROW AWAY AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE. Interestingly, as I've learned, this encompasses a huge number of strategies, boiling down to reduce, re-use, and recycle.

In that spirit, I will now begin my eco-tips for reducing your own waste...

First, and foremost, I suggest looking up the recycling tips for your county or city or whatever. To be an honest, as an ecologist and lifelong recycler, I kind of figured, "eh... I already know all that stuff"... Turns out, I... uh... don't. I realized that it makes so much more sense spending energy once or twice to be sure to understand the rules, than to waste time every single week preparing objects that can't actually be recycled. That energy could be spent in so many better and efficient ways... The following are things that I, personally, found out about my LOCAL recycling (it really does differ from place-to-place, so it's worth asking the questions to find out the specifics for you):
  • First, some basics: rinse your containers and flatten plastics and paper as much as possible. Paper products without food on them and metal cans and such are generally fine. Plastics type 1 to 3 (found in the awesome little triangle of arrows somehwere on the container) can typically be recycled. Beyond that, it's good to check with your local recycling.
  • Bottle caps are generally not recycled-- and in fact, as my friend Katie informed me, some places actually do not accept containers that still have their caps on. So be sure to take the caps off
  • If possible call ahead to check and, if they say it's okay, turn the hard plastic caps in to your awesome local Aveda store.
  • Shredded paper, in a paper bag, can be recyled in some areas, but not everywhere-- check with your local recycling unit.
  • Junk mail envelopes-- even those with windows in it-- can often be recycled.
  • It's important to keep your paper and cardboard recycling in a dry area previous to leaving it out on the curb. Many places are unable to recyled previously moist paper products, as far as I can tell.
  • Any paper products with paint or food or any such contaminating-type substances is generally not recyclable. Sadly.
  • Aluminum foil can be recylced, if it doesn't have food or grease on it.
  • There are also a lot of items that can (and SHOULD!) be recycled through local drop-off stations-- printer cartridges, cell phones, BATTERIES, shipping peanuts, plus of course household items that can be donated to places like the Salvation Army and Goodwill.
I'm getting together an email with about a million questions to my local recycling center to ask about a lot of these specifics. Never be afraid to ask such things, via telephone, email, or searching out at a booth at a fair. To be honest, they're usually very excited and encouraged that citizens are interested in their work and regulations-- everyone I've talked to has been about as nice as you can be.

I'd also like to point out that, as I realized what was and was not acceptable for recycling, I changed some of my consumer choices. For example, things that came in cartons, like orange juice, I started buying in jugs, which are recyclable in my area. There's clearly many other aspects involved in such decisions (which I'll get to in future blogs, don't you worry!) , but this is a darn good place to start!

Finally, I really like being able to SEE my differences so easily: the amount of waste going into my trash can has already decreased a lot and I can SEE it. Personally, that is an awesome accomplishment that I feel every day, as I open the trash can less and less.

Hope you enjoyed my first post! Let me know what you think and if you have recycling tips... Coming soon, reducing and reusing and a google-ton of other ideas!

1 comment:

Vincent said...

It would be great if you recycle your waste material for future use. In this way you reduce the trashes that are scattered just anywhere.