Recycling Tips

Everyone knows that recycling is good for the environment, but not everyone knows exactly how the process works or why it's so eco-friendly. To help you get a better idea of how recycling works and how you can integrate recycling into your life, here are some things to consider:

What You Recycle Matters

First of all, it's important to understand that different materials are recycled differently, with some materials being much more useful than others when they are recycled. This means that you might want to take a more aggressive approach to recycling certain materials while cutting others out of your recycling altogether.

At the valuable end of the spectrum, you have materials like aluminum and paper. When recycled, both save a massive amount of energy that would otherwise go toward creating new aluminum or paper. In the case of aluminum, much of the savings come from the fact that mining new aluminum from the ground is a lot harder than simply repurposing old aluminum into new uses. For paper, it can be pretty expensive to grow trees and convert the wood into paper, whereas recycled paper can be easily transformed into fresh paper.

At the other end of the spectrum, you have materials that you probably don't want to recycle at all, such as tissue paper or cardboard that has been stained with grease (such as used pizza boxes). Putting these materials into your recycling can end up causing more trouble than they're worth, since they will need to be removed from the valuable recyclables at the sorting facility.

Recycling Isn't Always the Best Solution

In fact, recycling is actually the last step that you want to take in the road to reducing your impact on the environment. Before you even get to the recycling stage, you want to take a long, hard look at how you can reduce and reuse.

For the reduce step, you want to try to consume less. This can mean buying fewer things, but it can also mean switching to products that are better for the environment. The fewer toxic and environmentally unfriendly substances that there are in the products that you buy, the less you will actually need to worry about when it comes to disposing of your waste.

For the reuse step, you want to think about how you can find new functionality in old products. Throwing them into the recycling bin requires that they go through a lengthy process before they are ready to actually be used again, but by repurposing them in your very home, you can skip that entire process and make them useful now.

If you'd like more information about waste management, check it out here.