fevereiro 08, 2007

It's Easy to be Green – Recycling Basics for the Home

Recycling saves energy, landfill space and natural resources, yet according to the EPA, the national recycling rate is just 30%. Despite good intentions, sometimes it's difficult to know exactly how to recycle properly so that it truly makes a difference. Here are a few easy suggestions:
Newspapers should be saved in their own bin, as this material goes directly back into newsprint recycling. A four-foot stack of newspapers saves the equivalent of a
40-foot fir tree.

Other printed material can be recycled together. Magazines, glossy printed flyers and newspaper inserts, phone books, envelopes, computer paper and paper packaging can be saved together in a single bin.

The following should be separated from your paper recycling: rubber bands, plastic wrap, carbon paper, stickers, cardboard, laminated paper and laminated cardboard. However, staples in paper and plastic-lined paper drink cartons are recyclable.

Corrugated cardboard is a highly valued recyclable. Most curbside collectors prefer that you bale it together and tie it with string. The most important thing is to keep it dry. Plastic or waxy coated and wet or greasy cardboard, such as pizza boxes, cannot be recycled.

Plastic bottles and grocery bags are also highly valued recyclables. Among other items, the plastic from bottles can be "spun" into fleece fabric. Remember to remove tops before putting your plastic bottles in the recycling bin. Recycling a 1-gallon plastic milk jug will save enough energy to keep a 100-watt bulb burning for 11 hours!

Try to sort your glass. Glass is recycled according to color: clear, green and brown. If you can, try to sort your glass. If this seems like too much of an effort, just try to separate lightbulbs, sheet glass, mirrors and pyrex, since they have a different composition. It's fine to leave paper labels on the glass. 90% of recycled glass can be reused to make new glass items such as bottles and jars.

Food cans should be rinsed and have lids and labels removed.

Aluminum cans are very valuable as recyclable items, but they're better when they're not crushed! Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run your TV for three hours.

Donate your old computers, printers and hardware. The simplest solution to recycling your old computer equipment is to donate it to a worthy cause. Ask at a local school or post an ad on a community bulletin board – someone without a computer will be very grateful.

Recycle your old cell phones and rechargeable batteries. Office Depot will collect all old cell phones and used rechargeable batteries free of charge. Contact them for more information.

For more information about recycling, visit www.eartheasy.com

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