This is the seventh article in the Sustainable Life Series, where we will explore the many ways you can live a sustainable life on a budget, no matter where you currently live. This mindset has many applications for the Prepared-Homesteading-Survivalist as we find ways to live life to the fullest on our homesteads, conserve resources every day, and how we prepare for emergencies.
Recycling has become easier to do in recent years. As people have become aware of the problem with using up nonrenewable resources, systems have been put in place for recycling items you can no longer use.
Items made of paper and plastic are the most commonly recycled. Glass is also a material that can be readily recycled. If you live in an urban area, you may have curbside recycling available. This makes it convenient to recycle without having to go anywhere.
If you don’t have recycling available at home, you may have to take your items to a recycling center. Luckily there are many places where you can go to recycle items in a convenient manner.
Many items can be recycled such as:
- Pizza boxes
- Water bottles
- Glass beer and wine bottles
- Cardboard boxes
- Milk jugs and cartons
- Aluminum Cans
- Grocery sacks (paper and plastic)
- Aluminum foil
- Soda bottles
- Shampoo bottles
- Lotion bottles
Plastic items have recycling numbers on the bottom of their containers. This helps you to understand which items can be recycled and which ones will not be accepted by recycling centers. Here’s a look at which numbers are generally accepted:
• 1 and 2 are almost always accepted by recycling programs
• 3. 6, and 7 are generally not accepted
• 4 and 5 are sometimes accepted, but you’ll need to ask the program
Setting up a recycling program at your home doesn’t have to be difficult.
When you are part of a recycling program, they will generally give you information about what can and cannot be accepted. There are some things that might be accepted, but only under certain conditions.
For example, water bottles are recyclable but their lids are not. Some programs will take them with the lids, but others require you to do the work of removing them. Make sure to follow the guidelines set up by your program.
You should also consider natural recycling by using compost. This was discussed in Chapter 3. Composting can help you to save your kitchen waste from the landfill where it will rot and go unused.
When it comes to recycling, you’re more likely to do it if it’s convenient for you. You’ll want to set up a system that makes it easy and part of your daily routine. For example, have several containers available in your kitchen. You’ll want to have containers for:
If your recycling center requires you to sort your recycling, you’ll also want to have containers for:
By sorting it immediately after use you’ll save time later. It’s also less messy to clean items and put them right into the recycling container. When it’s time to take your items to the recycling center, it won’t take much effort to pack them up and move them out.
When it comes to electronics, there are some special considerations you need to make. Many electronics have heavy metals in them that need to be removed before they’re disposed of. They also have parts that can be recycled.
Some retail locations, such as Target, provide recycling drop off centers. For example, you can drop off your cell phone in a special bin where it will be taken for recycling. You can also look online for cell phone recycling services that actually benefit charities.
Computers are more difficult to recycle and many donation centers won’t accept them. Call ahead to see if a thrift store will take your electronics. If not, they can point you to a local place where you can have your materials recycled. Some places charge a fee for this service.
Other articles in the Sustainable Life Series:
Making a Sustainable Life Plan
Why Choose a Sustainable Lifestyle
Sustainable living 101: What to Expect from Sustainability
Sustainable living tips: Small Choices that Make a Big Impact
Making Sustainable Living Fun
Getting Rid of Toxic Waste: Keeping Poisons out of the Landfill
Recycle: Sustaining the Earth by Managing Waste
Donate: Sustaining the Earth by Managing Waste
Reuse: Sustaining the Earth by Managing Waste
Reduce: Sustaining the Earth by Managing Waste
Reducing Dependence on Energy in your Home
Waste Not, Want Not Producing and Conserving Energy in your Home
Reduce Transportation Energy