It is estimated that the average American disposes of approximately 3.5 pounds of trash daily, with more than half of the garbage being recyclable. The significance of recycling cannot be understated or underestimated, especially as we continue to shift towards a more eco-friendly way of life. When you are familiar with the most important items to recycle, you can make changes and choices in your own life that will contribute to the betterment of the environment and the planet as a whole.
1. Recycle Aluminum
Recycling aluminum is one of the best ways to give back to the environment, and it is also one of the easiest for anyone to do, even from their own homes. Aluminum is 100 percent recyclable, making it one of the best go-to materials for those interested in developing eco-friendly products or solutions. Additionally, making a recycled aluminum can requires 95 percent less energy than creating an entirely new one, which is why cans and aluminum parts are so often recycled and reused.
2. Don’t Throw Away Your Paper
Another major recyclable item that should not be forgotten includes paper products. Newspapers, letters, mail, and packaging paper account for a large portion of all municipal waste. Recycling paper products is a great way to give back to the environment. Recycling paper products helps to preserve forests and also prevents the planet from overheating.
3. Don’t Forget About Steel
Steel cans and items are ideal for recycling, as they provide plenty of energy savings each year. Did you know that recycling steel cans can save the equivalent amount of energy that can power 18 million households annually? Steel is one of the most recycled materials in North America and is recycled more than plastic, aluminum, paper, and glass combined each year. Scraps from furnaces, vehicles, and household appliances can all be recycled if made from steel.
4. Polyethylene Terephthalate Plastic Bottles (PET)
Polyethylene Terephthalate plastic bottles, or PET materials, are the most widely recycled plastic in the world. PET bottles include both one and two-liter soda bottles. Additional bottles that use Polyethylene Terephthalate plastic include liquid cleaners, detergents, liquor bottles, antacid bottles, and even some bottles that contain water. Each year, more than 1.5 billion pounds of PET bottles are collected and used for recycling in the US alone, which is why it is the most commonly recycled plastic worldwide.
5. Save Cardboard
Recycling cardboard may seem obvious, but cardboard still accounted for a large percentage of municipal waste in the US in 1996, with 29 million tons of OCC or old corrugated cardboard collected. Recycling cardboard is highly advisable for residential citizens and commercial businesses, as OCC represents a significant percentage of the commercial waste stream in the US and other countries around the world. Approximately 90 percent of all OCC comes from the non-residential or commercial sector of all industries.
6. Greens and Organic Recycling
California has implemented new laws in response to Global Warming. Depending on your location and volume of waste, you may be required to recycle greens such as landscape waste and food waste.
Learning about the most important items to recycle and how to reduce your trash output is a great way to give back to the planet, even if you are doing so from the comfort of your home.