Light Shades of {Green} Month 4: Recycling

We seem to be inundated with the reduce, recycle, reuse logo and slogan, yet products continue to be excessively packaged.  Looking at our full trash can each week made me think about what a waste it is to throw so many things away.  In an effort to reduce our contribution to the landfill, we've started seeking out ways to recycle what we can.

What is recycling?  It is simply the process of taking used materials and converting them into new materials, which, in turn, reduces the need for "conventional" waste disposal {a.k.a. landfill}.

How do I recycle?  Although your city or town most likely has specific rules surrounding recycling, here's a few simple ideas:
  • Common household items such as glass, plastic and paper are most often picked up by your town or city.   If you don't have an official pick-up, your town or city may have a drop-off area for those items suitable for recycling.  Some have both options.
  • Hazardous materials, electronics and prescription medications are a little more tricky to dispose of.  Some towns/cities will have a drop off area for these, and some may limit the drop off to a particular day or weekend.  Usually your town hall can give you the information.
  • Some pharmacies will properly dispose of prescription medications for you.  Call the local pharmacies in your area to find out.
  • More and more electronic stores are taking old electronics and ink printer cartridges for recycling.  Again, it takes a little time but contact those near you and ask.
  • Grocery stores often have recycling bins for the plastic shopping bags.
  • You can often find a scrap metal yard nearby to drop off different metal products.
  • Fluorescent light bulbs, some thermometers {those with a silver column}, and many popular brands of kids flashing tennis shoes may contain mercury.  Contact your local town/city to find out how these should be disposed of.
  • If an appliance is outdated or no longer needed but still works, donate it to a local charity such as Goodwill or Salvation Army.  Get a receipt and write the donations off on your taxes.
  • Our town allows for the drop off of items that can compost.  We drop off items from May through October and the following April through May free compost is offered to all residents.
  • Of course you can also start a compost pile of your own {see Compost 101 here} to recycle your kitchen and yard scraps.
  • Virtually any place that sells automotive batteries or oil will take back the used products and many states have a state law requiring them to do so.
Once you get in the habit it doesn't take too much effort.

Do you have any recycling ideas to share? 

To read the entire "light shades of green" series, click {here}


mountain mama said...

love the tips!!

our kids love to make crafts out of boxes and play kitchen with empty spice canisters.

then...they go into the recyling buckets :)

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

What great ideas!! THANKS for sharing all this!!

I'm not sure this is what you're after as far as suggestions, but I do things with old CD's...You can attach old CDs to your mailbox or attach them to stakes to mark the end of your driveway or you can attach them to stakes, or dangle them from tree branches near or over your garden to scare critters away.

Life At Cobble Hill Farm said...

Thanks Mountain Mama and Kim. Great ideas of both upcycling and recycling!

Meredith said...

Here are a few things I do to help reduce our waste:
I always reuse any plastic bags we may get for lining the small garbage cans in the bathrooms and the baby's room.
When we buy garbage bags, they always come with those little twist-ties, which I never use. Instead I save them and use them in the garden to help train tomatoes, peas and beans to their supports.
I donate my magazines to the library magazine swap shelf.
I re-use my yogurt containers to start seedlings.

Life At Cobble Hill Farm said...

Great ideas Meredith - thank you!!