We all need to do a lot more to improve the outlook for the planet. Unfortunately, far too few people are doing their part. One thing that more people need to do is recycle.
There is a huge divide between the percent of Americans that feel recycling is important and those that actually recycle regularly. One study found that 94% of Americans support the idea of recycling. However, other studies have shown that only 35% of Americans actually follow through and do it.
The good news is that there is a lot that you can do to recycle more. You can start by finding out what things should absolutely be recycled. You just need to follow the right steps.
Even if You Are Recycling Already, You Need to Do a Lot More
Recycling is something we should all be doing to help save the planet, but here in the US, the recycling rates are pretty low. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, of over 267 million tons of waste generated in 2017, only 67 million tons were recycled, and 27 million tons were turned into compost. When these statistics are further broken down, it was shown that only 8% of plastics were recycled and 67% of paper is recycled. The low recycling rate for paper is concerning, since it can actually be recycled up to seven times before it becomes too degraded to use. However, some households do all they can to help reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfill.
Are you recycling enough? You should work on creating an eco-friendly culture within your home. Here’s what else you could be doing.
Buy Recycled Products
If you make a conscious effort to check the descriptions and labeling of goods and products when you shop, you’ll start to spot recycled items more often. If you can buy recycled over what you usually buy, this helps to increase the demand for recycled products. When fewer virgin materials are required due to a slow in demand, it helps to create a recycling loop. Recycled items can include clothes and shoes made from plastic waste, as well as tires, bags, and school supplies.
Donate Items You No Longer Need
A lot of us have had time for a good clear out during the pandemic, and if you have bagged up old clothes, toys, and various items from around the house, you should consider donating them rather than putting it all out with the trash. It always sounds much easier to just throw away anything you don’t need, but if every household in the US thought this way, you can only imagine the amount of waste that will end up in landfill, taking hundreds of years to break down. Instead, leave a bag by your front door and take it to a charity thrift shop every time you head out.
Create a Compost Bin
Food waste counts for a lot in the US; in fact, it amounts to between 30-40% of the food supply, or over $160 billion worth. Broken down, this means each person wastes a pound of food a day. Instead of throwing everything down the garbage disposal, you can do your bit by investing in a compost bin. Fill it with everything from vegetable peelings to teabags and grass cuttings, and you will have the perfect fertilizer for your yard. It may even inspire you to start growing your own fruit and vegetables, thereby cutting down on packaging waste too!
Sign Up to a Recycling Scheme
As recycling is not mandatory in the US, it is up to individual states and local governments to introduce their own recycling requirements. If you don’t currently separate your waste into what can and cannot be recycled, consider checking to see whether a reputable company like Waste Away Systems operates in your area. They take plastic, paper, cardboard, aluminum, steel and glass, and all you need to do is leave it on the curbside on an agreed bi-weekly schedule.
Recycling Must Become a Core Priority
There are a lot of things that you need to do to encourage an eco-friendly lifestyle in your home. You need to focus on creating a system to encourage recycling. You will see a big difference if you start doing this.
Do you have any tips for recycling? Let us know.