Twin Cities residents have a lot of options when it comes to recycling, and they take advantage of them! A recent research survey showed that almost half of us toss all our items into the correct bin, with about 39 percent getting only one item wrong. The same survey showed that people are motivated to recycle by their concern for the environment, and that they feel recycling is important and easy. With Earth Day coming up on April 22, it’s a great time to look at what we can do to reduce, reuse and recycle every day.
Keep it Easy
Resources like the Know What to Throw Guide and Recycling 101 can help you make sure all of your items end up in the right place. Just because something can’t be recycled in your curbside bin doesn’t mean that you can’t recycle it. Items like batteries and plastic bags can be brought to drop-off locations to be recycled.
Recycling is important because it is good for the three E’s: It benefits our economy, saves energy and protects our environment. Make sure you are recycling everything you can no matter where you are.
Recycle More, Disclose Less
Some people won’t recycle items with private information on it, but there are ways to make sure you don’t recycle your identity. Arm yourself with a black permanent marker or a scissors and either mark out your information or cut out your name and address from bills and junk mail. Remove labels from medication and prescription bottles before disposing of them, and remove information from your electronics.
The First R
Take a look at the items in your recycling bin; are there any you could have avoided acquiring in the first place? It’s important to think about the first R—reduce—before reusing and recycling. Avoid packaging waste by buying in bulk, go electronic, and find ways to reduce waste at work. Use reusable products whenever you can and seek out new ways to reduce wherever you go.
Reducing in the Modern Age
In recent years, there has been a shift from ownership to access in what is known as the sharing economy. Instead of purchasing several DVDs, people stream their entertainment. Instead of driving their own vehicle, people are using rideshare services and public transit. Borrow and share to find ways to help reduce without limiting your access with these services. Another movement is the Zero Waste lifestyle that allows people to use things like cloth bags, jars and bottles to end up producing a shockingly small amount of annual waste.
Getting the Most out of the Three R’s
By reducing what you purchase, reusing what you can and recycling the rest, you can help protect the environment. Use tips from Rethink Recyling, the U.S. EPA and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to get ideas on how to reduce the items that you acquire and look for ways to create less waste overall. Earth Day may only come once a year, but there are tons of ways to use the philosophy of Earth Day every day.