Get started out on the right “carbon” foot

Recycling Dos and Don’ts

Did you know that recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for two hours? Or that recycling 500 phone books could save 7,000 gallons of water? From paperless billing to the BYOB (bring your own bag) movement, everyone and everything is going green.

Even so, you would be surprised at how many Americans don’t recycle. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), less than 35 percent of households and less than 10 percent of the businesses in the U.S. recycle. 

There’s more to recycling than simply separating paper from plastic. So before you do your part in helping go green, school yourself on the dos and don’ts of recycling. After all, it is the law.

DO follow your local guidelines. Guidelines are there for a reason, to help make recycling easy and simple, so follow them! Your local waste management facility will provide you with information about what you can and can’t recycle. Recyclable items include paper, plastic, glass, cans, cardboard and metal.

DON’T recycle dirty containers. Don’t recycle any containers that still have liquids or solids remaining. Be sure to rinse any cans, glass or plastic products before you place them in the recycling bin. If boxes or cardboard are heavily soiled, for example a greasy pizza box, throw them out in the garbage.

DO recycle e-waste. You may be hesitant to recycle old electronics like cell phones, refrigerators, TVs, or stereos, but believe it or not, you can. Many electronic retailers or your local recycling centers accept these items as “e-waste.” However, be sure to check with your local waste management center first.

DON’T recycle hazardous waste. A lot of household items contain hazardous materials like cleaning supplies, arts and crafts supplies, paints, pool chemicals and more. Simply rinsing out the container isn’t enough, as harmful waste could be left behind. Contact your local waste management center about how to recycle hazardous waste.

Saving the planet isn’t easy, but with these recycling dos and don’ts, going green can be as simple as taking out the trash. Taking that extra step to recycle can make a huge difference. In fact, the average person has the chance to recycle more than 25,000 cans in a lifetime, according to recycleacrossamerica.org. Log on to your town’s local government website to see how you can get started on the right “carbon” foot.

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