Living more sustainably is a way to help our planet and ourselves! Treating the Earth with care is a form of self-care we can all be proud to try. There are numerous ways to get involved in a sustainable lifestyle. Still, if this is new territory for you, finding where to start might be tough.
Recycling is an easy, affordable way to begin living a more eco-friendly lifestyle. Of course, old habits die hard, but it's actually exceedingly simple to create new habits that ultimately produce such positive results for our planet.
If recycling is new to you, don't become overwhelmed and give up! If you follow these following simple steps, you'll make recycling a part of your daily routine in no time and perhaps develop additional sustainable habits along the way.
Continue reading to begin your recycling journey!
Do Your Research
The fact that you want to start making more environmentally conscious choices is great! Recycling will become an easy and regular part of your daily life, but before starting, you will need to do some research.
On the surface, it might seem like it's a habit that requires no thought, but there are probably some basics that you should know before you start tossing stuff into those blue bins.
Primarily, you need to know what products are actually recyclable. In a perfect world, recycling would be a completely straightforward process where you simply divide plastics, aluminum, glass, and such into different bins and call it a day. However, the recycling process is actually a bit more complicated than that.
Not every plastic item you've purchased is necessarily recyclable, so it's critical to find a reliable and thorough list of what household items are recyclable. Some items are recyclable but need to be disposed of in certain locations. Other items can just be thrown away in your regular waste bin.
If you want to take your research a step further and make even more eco-friendly choices, you can make it a point to shop for brands that are sustainable and use conscious practices to produce their product. For instance, if you want to expand your sustainable choices into your fashion.
For example, you can do research on brands like KOKOLU, which use sustainable materials to make their clothes. This extra step is also great for recycling purposes as well because you will be purchasing products that you know can be recycled and won't end up in landfills.
Educate yourself on the products you use. See what you can and can't toss into a recycling bin. It's a quick and easy way to put recycling and sustainability into the forefront of your mind, and make consistent, eco-friendly choices going forward.
Acquire the Proper Bins
Yet another simple yet necessary step to becoming a regular recycler is getting a recycling bin!
If you live in a residential neighborhood, having a proper recycling bin is necessary to have your trash collectors take your recyclables away. That blue bin indicates that your waste is recyclable, and so they will ensure it gets disposed of properly. If you lack the proper bin, your efforts can be for nothing, as your recyclables might get mistaken for normal trash.
Accidentally sending your recyclables to a landfill is a tragic but common occurrence — and it is completely avoidable if your bins are properly labeled! Nearly 55% of recyclable goods end up in landfills. But, if we all make an effort to be more cautious when taking out the trash, we can minimize that percentage and make our planet a more sustainable place.
For your own purposes, however, having separate bins makes the recycling process easier and more convenient. You'll know exactly where to throw your recyclables, and all waste will be properly and sustainably disposed of.
In some areas, you may have to purchase your own bins, but in many areas, if you stop by your local recycling center, they are more than happy to provide you with the proper bins to begin recycling.
Acquiring the proper bins is a part of becoming organized, but there is more work you can do in your day-to-day life to stay organized and stay on top of your new recycling habit.
If your area doesn't provide bins, and you don't want to drop cash on a few bins, you can hand-make your own! Add labels to your binds to remind yourself which bin is used for specific items. Divide your trash into regular waste, bottles and cans, and paper and cardboard. You'll know exactly where each bit of waste belongs, and it will become an easy habit for you.
And try adding a note to the bins to let the sanitation workers know they're for recyclables.
It is also important to stay on top of when trash day is. No one wants trash build-up in their home. If it becomes too cluttered, you might make slip-ups and dispose of things improperly.
Know when to take out your trash, and maybe designate a day of the week to return cans and bottles. Doing so will keep the waste out of your living space and get you in the routine of constant recycling.
Find Out Where To Leave Your Recycles
The next simple step is to locate where you can bring your recycled goods. As previously stated, not all recyclables can go to the same place, so you will need to do a little research to locate where to drop off your goods.
Dropping off your recycled goods in the proper locations is a critical step. Not everything can be dropped off at your local bottle return service, so it's essential that you learn where you can return certain items!
Not everyone knows that household batteries shouldn't be thrown away in the trash. Batteries are often made with chemicals that can cause runoff pollution once they end up in landfills. They can even contain raw materials that need to be recycled to ensure a constant supply.
Most electronic stores will accept your old batteries. However, if you are still unsure how to properly dispose of them, your local waste authority will be able to point you in the right direction.
Even sneakers can be recycled, but they need to be brought to the right location first.
It's not a hassle to drop off your recyclables in the proper location, and if you time it right, you can pick a day of the week to do your recycle drop-offs and make a habit out of it! It isn't the most fun or glamorous activity in the world, but it's easy and necessary. And besides, you can boost your own ego knowing that you are doing your part.
Reuse and Repurpose
Another step to becoming a regular recycler and just more sustainable in general is reusing and repurposing items before you recycle them.
Reusing items, like glass jars, or water bottles before you dispose of them means that you are buying and creating less waste generally. This is a very eco-friendly means of existing. It is also more convenient for you and saves you money in the long run.
Repurposing items is a clever way to save waste, and you can get creative with it! For example, you can repurpose your old newspaper for wrapping paper, which again saves you money and contributes to less waste. If you’re crafty, you can find ways to incorporate reusable goods into art! Use newspaper to make a collage, or maybe make candles with your old glassware.
There are endless ways to repurpose or reuse items, and it is just another step to take to lead a sustainable life and encourage yourself to recycle and make environmentally friendly choices.
Start Recycling Today!
These are just a few of the steps you can take to begin recycling, but they are all a necessary part of the journey.
Recycling is critical, and now more than ever, our planet needs everyone to do their part. All it really takes to become a recycler is making subtle changes to your routine.
See what things at home you can reuse in different ways. Find sustainable brands when shopping. Even with fashion, there are many options that keep trendy style and comfort as their goals.
A little research, a positive attitude, and properly dividing your waste are really all it takes to make recycling a part of your daily routine.
Recycling is easy, affordable, and crucial for the well-being of the planet. Follow these steps to become more sustainable and save our planet from unnecessary waste.
How Do I Recycle?: Common Recyclables | US EPA