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How Much Do You Know About Recycling? Recycling 101

How much trash do you produce?
How much trash do you produce?
Brandie Bell

In the United States, we love stuff. Unfortunately, stuff makes trash. Lots and lots of trash.

How much trash? In 2010 about 250 million tons.

Our heads should drop in shame.

How should we deal with said trash? Dump it over the back fence into the neighbors yard, right?

Not so much.

How much do you really know about recycling?
What is recycling? According to the Oxford American Dictionary the definition of recycling is 1: convert waste into reusable material. 2. Use something again.

How often do you consciously either put something in the recycle bin or better yet reuse or repurpose something?

How many people recycle in the US? Not enough, it turns out only about 32.5%
of the US actively recycle.

What Types of Waste are There?

  • Solid Waste
  • Regulated Medical Waste (RMW)
  • RCRA Hazardous Waste
  • Pharmaceutical Waste
  • Universal Waste
  • Recyclables
  • Construction & Demolition Debris (C&D)
  • Composting

That is a lot of waste.

What can we recycle?

  • Glass
  • Paper and cardboard
  • Metals
  • Plastics
  • Electrical and Electronic Equipment
  • Batteries
  • Garden & Kitchen Waste
  • Textiles
  • Hazardous Waste

What are the best cities in the US for Recycling? Here are some of the best curbside recycling cities:

  • Fresno, Calif.
  • San Francisco, Calif.
  • Austin, Texas
  • Portland, Ore.

Why trash is everyone’s problem:

  1. No where to put it. The planet is only so big, and the population is increasing at an alarming rate. There are already gigantic floating islands of trash drifting around the ocean!
  2. Methane. Whether or not you choose to believe it, Our atmosphere is heating up, and yes we are causing it. Methane is a huge problem and excess garbage is a huge contributor.

So what does all of this mean to you? There are a few things that you can do to lessen your impact on the planet.

  1. Recycle! Reduce & Reuse.
  2. Buy Recycled Products.
  3. Conserve what there is.

A few Quick Tips:

  • Use your imagination, there are a ton of art supplies right in your trash can.
  • e-cards! I know its nice to get something in the mail but what do they do with the card once they get it? In our minds they keep it forever, but in reality, its in the trash.
  • Try to use reusable tupperware instead of ziplocks.
  • Watch what you buy, and try to buy products that have less packaging.
  • Instead of all those wasted batteries, try to use rechargeable batteries.

Do you recycle? If so, How often and what?

If you live in Los Angeles and need more information on recycling locally here is a great source: Recycling Procedure or Information: CAL Recycle: http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/BevContainer/Recyclers/Directory/Default.aspx?lang=en-US

Sources:

  1. Environmental Protection Agency. "Municipal Solid Waste." EPA. Accessed August 10 2014.
  2. Environmental Protection Agency. "10 FAST FACTS ON RECYCLING." EPA. http://www.epa.gov/reg3wcmd/solidwasterecyclingfacts.htm (accessed August 10 2014).
  3. SustainAbility. "Recycling Facts." Sustainability-Recycling. Accessed August 10 2014.
  4. Earth911, Inc.. "Facts About Aluminum Recycling." Earth911.com. August 10 2014.
  5. EPA: www.epa.gov/epawaste/nonhaz/municipal/infographic/index.htm
  6. Waste Categories & ypes: https://practicegreenhealth.org/topics/waste/waste-categories-types
  7. Where you live: http://www.epa.gov/epahome/whereyoulive.htm
  8. United States Recycling Statistics: http://greenliving.lovetoknow.com/United_States_Recycling_Statistics
  9. Recycle City, USA: America’s best recycling cities:
  10. http://usagainblog.com/2013/04/03/recycle-city-usa-americas-best-recycling-cities/