Recycling Isn’t Just Recycling Anymore

Photo by Select Photos on Unsplash

Recycling isn’t a new thing. In fact, I remember when I was younger, my mom would take me and my sister to a recycling location every now and again. We would bring our newspapers, plastic and glass bottles, aluminum cans and more. While I didn’t really know much about recycling back then, I did enjoy doing this. Each “product” had its own recycling area and it was cool to see how much recycling was being done. Don’t get me wrong, the money we got for turning in our items to be recycled was pretty cool too.

Over the years, though, recycling has changed. Now, recycling isn’t just recycling the items you have anymore. It’s about recycling your items and then opting to purchase recycled items instead of ones made using new materials. You can also take it a few steps further by reducing your overall consumption, reusing or re-purposing items you already own and going zero-waste.

First Step Is To Take the #BeRecycled Pledge

We all could stand to be a little more eco-conscious as consumers and America Recycles Day is a good place to start. So, take the #BeRecycled pledge to not only commit to reduce, reuse, recycle and re-purpose, but to buy recycled products too. Once you take the pledge, you can decide what items you are going to commit to recycling.

What Can You Recycle?

While countless items can be recycled, most of the products we buy will never make it to a recycling plant. In fact, many will either make their way to landfills or to the ocean where the products will every so slowly begin to decompose and pollute the environment.

These are just a sampling of the products you can recycle:

  • Milk and other food cartons
  • Shampoo and conditioner bottles
  • Plastic bags
  • Plastic bottles
  • Newspapers and magazines
  • Paper
  • Unwanted mail
  • Mobile devices
  • Electronics
  • Glass containers
  • Batteries

Not all of these items can be disposed of in your “recycling bin”. Fortunately, Earth911 has a tool you can use to find out about recycling facilities near you as well as what products/materials can be disposed of and where.

What Recycled Products Can You Buy?

Another thing you can do, in addition to recycling more, is you can commit to buying recycled products. In this day and age, numerous companies are beginning to manufacture their products using recycled materials. The more we, as consumers, buy these products, the more companies will consider this as a viable, eco-friendly option.

For example, these 14 companies are capitalizing on this eco-friendly trend by using recycled plastics in their products. Shoes, clothes, household goods, furniture, rugs and other items can all be made using recycled materials. Even car makers are looking to lower their carbon footprint by using recycled materials during the manufacturing process.

Reduce by Choosing Zero-Waste Products

Once you’ve committed to recycling products and materials you use on a daily or weekly basis, and buying recycled products, the next step is to commit to using fewer products in need of recycling. Find zero-waste products you can buy and opt for those instead. For example, notoxlife has a variety of zero-waste products including shampoo bars, dish washing blocks and more. They also have refilling stations, so you can bring in your glass bottle or container and fill it up again on site. This reduces plastic consumption and is much better for the environment overall.

For those interested in zero-waste shopping, here is a zero-waste grocery guide you can use to find stores throughout the U.S.

The key to keep in mind on America Recycles Day, and every day thereafter, is while recycling is extremely important so is reducing our consumption rates. This is especially true when it comes to single- or one-use plastic and other non-reusable items. Buying recycled products, or switching to zero-waste and reusable, is the more sustainable and biofriendly option. It’s better for our health and for the health of the environment.

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