How recycling impacts the weather
People from around the world are coming together to learn about ways to reduce their carbon footprint
If you’ve ever wondered why we should bother to sort trash, minimize household waste, and take the time to understand recycling do’s and don’ts, think about recycling’s impact on the weather.
The gradual warming of the earth’s temperatures and the increased frequency of unusual weather patterns is related to climate change. This disruption in “normal” weather patterns has been years in the making: a product of us not being as mindful as we should be about how to handle the garbage we discard, hazardous materials, and vehicle emissions.
The good news is that learning the do’s and don’ts of recycling is easy. By following a few best practices, you can do your part to help stabilize weather conditions for you, your family and friends, and future generations.
Photo by Dave Noonan
1- Do separate your trash
When it comes to understanding how to sort your recycling, just remember that in most areas three is the magic number. That means three categories of recycling: 1) all paper, 2) all glass and metal, and 3) all plastics. If you have space, dedicate a bin to each of these three categories. You can even buy bins with three compartments to make it even easier. Not only is this a good way to keep things clean but also makes for more effective recycling trips.
Photo by Lisa Fotios
2- Do empty containers completely
One of the reasons many people stop recycling is because they don’t like the mess and smell of sitting garbage. You can avoid this entirely by rinsing out cans and bottles thoroughly before placing them in the recycling bin.
Photo by Brandable Box
3- Do flatten cardboard boxes
Breaking down your boxes saves space, keeps your recycling area tidy, and reduces trips to the recycling center (which is also better for the environment.)
Photo by Niko Lienata
4- Do recycle plastics marked 1, 2 and 5
Which plastics are recyclable? This is a complicated question because the rules can vary from state to state, city to city, and town to town. If you are looking for guidance, there are some easy to use tools at RecycleMorePlastic.org. You can also check the website for the local recycling center in your area. In general, PET (polyethylene terephthalate) and HDPE (high-density polyethylene) are commonly accepted recycling plastics everywhere. PET is a very common type of plastic used to make water bottles and food containers. Eight billion PET bottles are produced in the United States every year. HDPE is commonly used for shampoo and other detergent bottles. In numerical terms, PET plastic is marked as 1. HDPE plastic is marked as 2. And polypropylene plastic (or PP) is marked as 5. This is the plastic commonly used to make furniture, toys, and car bumpers. For a handy reference to all the plastic numbers and where you commonly find them, check out Easyearth.com.
Photo by RitaE
5- Do recycle aluminum
Aluminum foil and trays can definitely be recycled. Just be sure to rinse these items well because they commonly come in direct contact with food and will start to smell if you leave them sitting out.
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1- Do not recycle plastic bags
Plastic bags choke the machines that are used to sort recycling at treatment plants. This is why many areas around the country are banning stores from using plastic bags. Paper and cloth bags are still okay to use and are better all around for the environment.
Photo by Creative Vix
2- Do not recycle pizza boxes
Cardboard is recyclable, but pizza boxes are not because they come in contact with grease and sticky food traces.
Photo by Hamza Javaid
3- Do not toss every kind of plastic in the recycle bin
Many areas do not collect plastics numbered 3, 4, 6, and 7. (Again, Eartheasy.org can tell you what these plastics are most commonly used to create.)
Photo by Gary Chan
If you are concerned about the future of weather and its impact on this planet that we all share, it pays to take recycling seriously. Recycling the right way is an easy habit to get into and a small way to make a big positive difference on the environment.