How to Start Recycling

Not recycling is one of the biggest things that people should consider changing in order to help out the environment, since it basically means that there are more things that will be going to landfills rather than being used wherever it is possible. That is why we have chosen to create this guide for you on how to start recycling, which will have some significant benefits for the environment. Your change can have a big impact, especially if you help others receive this information too.

Benefits of Recycling

recycling logo

The benefits and reasons to recycle are many. A lot of them are common sense, but we will help refresh your memory anyway. There’s no shortage of articles explaining the benefits of recycling, including from the Environmental Protection AgencyU.S. Department of Health & Human Services and many others.

First of all, by recycling you will end up reducing your carbon emissions. It makes sense. If more of the packaging material you would otherwise throw out is reused, it will lower the overall footprint that goes into making the different products you’re consuming. Figure out which things can be recycled, and help reduce your emissions. For aluminum being recycled, it’s as much as 95% of the energy that will be won.

Recycling helps in providing us with cleaner air. Raw materials are expensive to use from scratch, while it requires less energy to simply recycle materials, and by communicating to companies that good recycling policies is required, you can help them force them to make the transition.

The quality of the groundwater is improved with better and more recycling. The waste that is stored in landfills could leak into the groundwater which we drink, and there could therefore also be health benefits from doing this. The garbage in the landfills is often not treated and the consequence being that things leak into the groundwater.

When you are teaching kids the important of recycling, you can use the video below.

Why People Don’t Recycle

There are unfortunately a lot of people that don’t recycle, and there are many reasons for it. Small actions will have a great impact since everyone’s consumption is so big and by having more people join in on the movement, a significant impact can be achieved. The excuses we hear for why people don’t recycle, are many. Be one of the people that help make a positive impact with your actions.

Here are some of the most common reasons people don’t recycle:

Some people don’t know how to do it and therefore find it hard to do. Your local government is likely to have a pamphlet on their recycling policies, which you can request which should help you get started.

Some people also believe that their efforts simply may not be worth it in the grand scheme of things, which unfortunately limits the amount being recycled. Think about the amount of trash you accumulate every day. If you can cut that in half, you can imagine how that will become significant over time.

We also hear the excuse that people want to be compensated for their efforts. It’s true that some countries do compensate to recycle things such as bottles, and you may even be living in a state that pays you to recycle. However, we ought to all consider that we share this earth and the more we can change by changing our behavior, the more we all benefit.

You will be required to have different bags or cans to put the different things in and for some that is too inconvenient and may take up too much space. While it’s true it will take up more space, it is still worth doing.

If you set up the right systems, and get a pamphlet to learn what goes where, it doesn’t even need to be difficult to do – which is another excuse we hear.

Fun Facts for Kids

Get kids started early on recycling, and their habits will hopefully follow them long into their adult life. The same you need to teach kids about fire safety, recycling is also one of those things they need to learn about.

It often helps when you can make kids feel engaged during the process.

By recyling paper, one ton to be exact, you can save as many as 17 trees. If you go out into the forest and show them, they will get a better understanding of the magnitude.

Since a tree will filter more than 50 pounds of pollution, saving 17 trees would equate to an additional 850 pounds of pollutants being filtered.

Work with kids to learn not to rely on Styrofoam cups, and bring their own reusable cups when it’s possible.

By using recycled paper, you’re helping ensure that 64% less energy was spent on the production of that paper, which is pretty significant.

[bctt tweet=”Too many Styrofoam cups are thrown out every year. Help the world by recycling.” username=”ContractorHelp”]

As we need more and more landfills, they become more and more expensive, because the trash now needs to go further before it can be disposed of. Making new landfills thereby becomes more expensive.


plastic bottle being thrown out

Take the time to familiarize yourself with some facts about recycling that will hopefully help you change your mind about the matter.

Here are some facts about recycling plastic that can somehow help to widen your knowledge about recycling.

There are about 60 million plastic bottles used every day in the US, and these are generally just being thrown away rather than recycled. By recycling it rather than burning it, we’re saving half of the energy. Instead of simply getting disposable water bottles, get ones that you can use over and over.

Styrofoam cups are a big sinner when it comes to waste. Americans collectively throw away 25 trillion of them every year, which is 83 per person per year.

While we can recycle plastic bottles, about 27% of them are in fact recycled, meaning there’s 73% that could but aren’t.

By recycling and composting we’ll be able to create jobs, avoid filling landfills and helping the environment. Instead of simply throwing out your trash, you should check to see if it can be composted, which is a great natural fertilizer.

Did you know that when you buy bottled water, it’s generally not the water you’re paying for but everything else including bottle, shipping, marketing and more. It makes up 90% of the actual cost. Instead of buying disposable water bottles. Buy a reusable one and fill it up. You’ll be saving yourself a lot of money.

If you want to save 2,000 gallons of gasoline what you need to do is recycle a ton of plastic. That is how much energy goes into its production.

Teaching Children

dad and son outside

How do you teach kids about recycling? We have some ideas that you will hopefully find useful in your quest.

Have they ever been to a recycling center? When you take the trash to one, bring them along so that they can see the processes that go on when they throw out something. Talk to the people that work there so they can actually understand that there are real people that need to deal with all the trash that is generated. By making it feel more real to them, they’ll also be more likely to be conscious about their consumption.

Things that are games will often help make it able to get kids engaged. Make it engaging that they play an active role with taking out the trash. You can even try repurposing trash and turning it into toys instead.

Make it a game to recycle things. Decorate the personalized bins. You can decorate the bins with little pictures of what go into them for example. By doing so, there’s never a question about which things go into which bins.

There are great books you can read to your kids that will teach them about recycling. All you need to do is go on Amazon.

Activities for Elementary Students

If you’re a teacher in an elementary school, you know that it can be difficult to get kids to recycle. Think outside the box about initiatives that can help increase the amount of recycling you do.

The tin can phone is a great way that you can not just reuse tin cans, but make it fun in the process. It will teach kids about sound waves and vibration, so it is not just educational in terms of recycling but also for learning about physics.

The underwater I spy bottle is another great activity to reuse some of the materials you have lying around.


Making a CD fish from old CDs can give them new life, since you probably won’t be using those CDs anyway. Here’s how you can use them.

Ask the parents to bring them in and you will be saving them from eventually going to the trash, you’re saving money on materials, and instead of buying new materials will simply use stuff that people already had.

What Can You Recycle?


There are obviously different requirements among cities and how they go about recycling, but here are some of the things that can generally be recycled.

Plastic is obviously a big sinner when it comes to the overall amount of trash. Some cities may not accept all types of plastic for recycling, but by cutting our consumption and recycling everything we can, we’ll be helping the world become greener.

Paper is also a major source of waste. This includes cardboard, gift wrapping, egg cartons, mail, printer paper, newspapers, catalogs and more. Make sure to see if there are any limitations on what your recycling facility processes.

Metal is a big source of waste from all the cans and containers. Instead of throwing them out, recycle them.

Electronics contain a lot of precious metals and by simply throwing them out, they’re going to waste. You can do the environment a favor by making sure they get a new purpose when you’re done with the electronic device. It includes televisions, computers, phones and everything. There’s always a specific place for electronics that make sure their contents are being used as well as possible rather than being wasted. Recycling your phone is not hard.

Construction waste is a big source of waste when you’re remodeling your home. Some of your things may either be repurposed or recycled.

Batteries are important to recycle. If you don’t do it properly, they are just a hazard waiting to leak their contents and there’s a reason why you can’t just throw them in the landfill. It does not matter what type of battery it is, they need to be disposed of correctly. There are also retailers that will take them off your hands.


plastic bottles

Check out these many benefits from recycling plastic. It lowers our consumption of the earth’s resources, limits the amount of waste we create and it helps save electricity in the production of the goods we’re consuming.

There is an increasing amount of waste treatment facilities that are also handling the containers that are used for sour cream, yogurt and other types of food.

It’s not just the things in your kitchen that can be recycled. There are other places where you will have plastic waste, which includes the bathroom. While you may be tempted to throw plastic away, a good thing to do is simply to keep it with you until you find a recycling container.

When you have a party, encourage everyone to use reusable containers, and put out a specific bin for everything that needs to be recycled. While it’s great to recycle, you should also try to go for brands and products  that actively recycle. There’s often no reason not to use the products that were made from recycled products.

Recycling Ideas for Work

3 recycling containers on a work desk

There are a lot of initiatives that can increase the amount of recycling at work. As mentioned, this includes everything from computers to paper, and since this is often where a lot of printing goes on, there’s enough material to recycle.

You should also be working to reduce all different types of waste produced at the office.

If you still print and haven’t become a fully digital office, make sure that the printer is using both sides of the paper, which effectively makes you use half the paper.

Shredded documents serve as the filler when you send out packages instead of having to buy filler materials and reuse all the boxes that come into the office for whatever reason.

Make it easy to recycle documents by putting a recycling bin right next to the printer.

Memos should be distributed by email or otherwise made available online. To make them easy to find, they should be the same place all the time, which will also make it easy to go back over later on.

When you get new hires coming in, there’s obviously training material that they will need to go through. While it may be tempting to print all of that out, it might as well be provided as a PDF.

Replace all those Styrofoam cups with actual mugs instead, and make employees wash them off if you don’t have a dishwasher.

Air dryers will limit the amount of paper being used.

Some employees really value working from home, and it can be a very important perk for some. It means they won’t be spending time getting back and forth and can help keep them motivated too.

When you need to buy furniture for the office, get it from either CraigsList or a place like FreeCycle. It’s important that you communicate your company’s desire to recycle and that you lead by example.

If you can get used manufacturing equipment, that will also help cut your waste significantly.


Cooking Oil

You probably use cooking oil yourself, and you already know that you shouldn’t pour it down the drain as it will clog everything up. Did you know you can actually recycle the cooking oil, which will help keep your drains working perfectly.

Here’s what you need to do.

Instead of simply washing it off, and pouring all the grease into the drain, you need a container where it goes when you’re done cooking. It’s convenient if it’s one that’s not too hard to pour it into, which is why something like a coffee can works. The hole is not too small. The easier it is for you to do, the more likely you are to actually do it.

Whenever you’re done cooking, it’s very simple. Just pour the remaining content into the designated container. If you have things left over from your cooking, throw those in the trash before you pour the oil in the container. When the container is full at some point, you take it to the place where you go with the other things that need to be recycled. Make sure that it’s properly sealed so that it does not leak in the car.

If your waste treatment facility does not have a place for oil, then you can simply throw it out in the trash.

It’s not just your drains that are at risk when you pour grease into them, it’s also those of the city. Keeping the grease out of the drains therefore helps everyone.

Ink Cartridges

ink cartridges

Ink cartridges should be purchased reusable and recyclable to minimize the impact their disposal has on the environment. With the amount of them being produced each year, we owe it to ourselves. Here’s what you need to do it yourself.

You can either refill cartridges by yourself or you can have them do it at a place like Costco. With the use of the kit that we linked to, you can do it yourself, but if you simply want the convenient, have them do it and you won’t need to worry about it yourself.

Always make sure that you’re wearing clothes that you won’t be sad to have stained when you refill them, and put on rubber gloves as it can be hard to get off your skin. The instructions for how to refill them will be on the product you purchased, and you will need to clean the syringe after you have used it for refilling the cartridges.

Can You Recycle Aluminum Foil?

You will need to check with your local recycling station to see what their policy is regarding aluminum foil since it’s often not accepted if it has been used. Dirty aluminum foil could cause issues with all the other products that are being recycled. Unused aluminum foil can be recycled, the issue is just that most of us don’t throw it out when it looks like that.

Food Wastage

Food waste

We’re wasting so much food, and it’s a problem that we have an abundance while other places in the world suffer from hunger. A lot of food is either just thrown out because it goes bad or wasted in another way.

Take active steps to limit your food waste, and learn how to compost so you are recycling what you cannot avoid wasting. If you do not plan on composting yourself, you should consider offering it to either a neighbor or farmer who is.

There are things that can’t be added to compost so before you simply throw it in their direction, you will want to make sure you’re not ruining their work of composting.

If you have chickens, pigs or goats, you can give them all the leftovers. By storing food better you can also increase its life, and when things are about to go bad, look up recipes using those ingredients.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

green tree on top a globe

While recycling is important, pairing it with decreased consumption habits will bring greater effects. By limiting your waste, you can do a lot for the environment.

Can You Recycle Plastic Bags?

Whether or not you can recycle plastic bags comes down to the waste facility and its policies. A lot of places do not accept soft things such as grocery bags as they can be hard to process for machines. The answer is therefore that you will need to consult with your local waste management facility to see what they say. Download their flyer.

You can also see if your local grocery store takes back used plastic bags which a lot do.


paint buckets

You need to check the individual paint buckets that you buy in order to make sure you dispose of them properly. Latex based paint can be recycled, while oil-based cannot. In fact, the oil-based one needs to be correctly disposed of where other hazardous materials go.

It is one of those things that you should check locally to see what the guidelines are in terms of disposing. Latex based paint can just be allowed to dry, and you can then figure out if it goes with the other traditional recycling of if you need to bring it somewhere special.

How to Make Money Recycling Electronics

There are a lot of different causes that accept used electronics, and they may even be ready to pay you a bit of money for them. It won’t be much, but at least it beats simply throwing out the electronics and wasting a lot of valuable resources.

You can also go on a place like Ebay and sell them off. If they’re really old, you likely won’t get much for it, but a couple of bucks here and there is better than nothing.

Some retailers have programs where they will take your used electronics back, and you can then either get cash or discounts from them. Best Buy is one of these places.

How Does Recycling Save Money?

You may be wondering how you’ll be able to save money by recycling. There are a lot of ways to save money by recycling. For example, you can buy clothes that have been recycled at the thrift store. Doing so is not just cheaper, but helping the environment – and you save money.

By making money recycling, assuming you’re not spending it, you can save up, and as we mentioned, creatively repurposing things like CDs and trash can help you save on creative materials you would otherwise have spent money on.

By buying used furniture, you’re also saving significant amounts of money, even compared to getting things that are heavily discounted. Often when folks want to sell their furniture, they’re also willing to negotiate the price, as long as they get rid of it.

Every time you’re repurposing something, you are saving money, assuming you’d otherwise be spending money to satisfy that need.

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