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Green Living: Here’s How Recycling at Home Can Help Improve Your Health and Our Planet

Most of us have been hearing about the importance of recycling since we were children. Unfortunately, public service announcements and even national efforts to encourage recycling haven’t been as successful as they should be.

As a result, our planet and natural environment have reached a critical state. It’s easy to assume that just because you’re one person, your recycling efforts can’t make a difference; however, when everyone starts to feel that way and no one takes recycling seriously, and we all suffer. 

So, what kind of impact does recycling really have? Let’s take a look at how it can improve the health of our planet, starting with your own home. 

Why Is Recycling Important? 

Recycling helps to reduce the amount of waste build-up around the world. Collectively, many countries produce over a billion tons of waste each year. Simply put, we’re running out of room for all of the garbage produced on a daily basis. Landfills across the globe are overflowing, and unless something changes soon, we’ll have nowhere to store this excess waste. 

If that isn’t scary enough, consider the negative impact waste has on the environment. Dangerous chemicals and greenhouse gases are constantly being released into the air from the waste in landfills. Not only do those gases and chemicals create air quality problems for the future, but they contribute to global warming. Our planet is heating up at an alarming rate, and a lot of it has to do with the amount of waste building up all over.

We have many opportunities each day to do better for the environment. About 50 percent of the trash we throw away can actually be recycled. When you choose to recycle, every little bit helps to reduce the amount of waste contributing to the poor health of the planet. 

What Are the Personal Benefits of Recycling?

Looking at the benefits of recycling on a global scale can be overwhelming. Still, it’s important to note that recycling helps to cut down on energy waste and the production of raw materials. Not only is that good for the environment, but it’s good for your wallet too! The less frequently businesses have to invest in raw materials, the fewer price hikes you can expect on your favorite products. 

The biggest benefit you’ll experience from recycling, though, is knowing you’re doing your part to protect your planet and keep it sustainable for future generations. If you have children or younger family members, what you do for the planet now will have a huge impact on their future here

Recycling helps to cut back on deforestation. By doing your part, you’ll help to preserve some of the world’s most beautiful and precious natural resources for generations to come. That’s something to feel good about!

The Basic Steps of Recycling

The basics of recycling are simple, so it shouldn’t be hard to make it a healthy habit in your everyday life. If you’re not sure how to get started, take a look at the item you’re thinking about throwing away. Does it have the recycling “logo” on it? Recyclables are marked with specific symbols and/or numbers

Most plastic items are recyclable, but specific types of plastic need to be checked depending on the area you live in. Almost all paper can also be recycled, as well as many small metal items. Everyday items you should be recycling include: 

  • Plastic bottles
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Aluminum cans
  • Wine/liquor bottles
  • Mail/newspaper

Before you toss the appropriate items into your recycling bin, be sure to clean them out. Many takeout containers and cardboard food boxes are recyclable, but not if they’re tainted with food particles. 

What Can’t Be Recycled? 

The easiest way to start recycling is to have a designated box or bin in your home. Many communities have their own recycling pick-up programs. Even if yours doesn’t, you should be able to find a local drop-off location nearby. 

As you start to fill up your bin, it’s important to know which items can’t be recycled. Shredded paper, for example, can’t be recycled. If you try to put it in your recycling bin, it will likely end up in a landfill. Other items that can’t be recycled include: 

  • Plastic shopping bags
  • Egg cartons
  • Styrofoam cups
  • Broken glass
  • Plastic utensils
  • Items soiled with food

The more you educate yourself on which items will end up going to waste and which can be reused, the easier the recycling process will become. If you’re uncertain about specifics for your community, contact your local recycling center for more information. 

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Big Businesses Are Recycling for a Brighter Future

Recycling has grown in popularity and importance over the last several years because of the positive impact it can have on the planet. More and more businesses are doing what it takes to be eco-friendly and reduce their carbon footprint. 

Companies like Coca-Cola are vowing to recycle one bottle or can for each one they sell, and Dunkin Donuts is pushing an effort to stop using foam cups by 2020. Many businesses are starting to understand how important recycling is. As a result, bigger items are starting to get reused in unique and innovative ways. 

More things are starting to get recycled on a global scale than you might think — including junk cars! Junk car recycling reuses metal, glass, rubber tires, and more so a car that would have otherwise ended up in a dump can have new life as something completely different. 

Other industries are also joining in on a push to be green. Food service businesses are doing things like banning plastic straws and using biodegradable dishes. Even the fashion industry has started to make more eco-friendly choices with the materials they use and the way in which their clothes are made. 

Making a Difference Starts at Home

Recycling helps our world in so many different ways, and it’s easy to do. As more businesses and industries start to jump on board with eco-friendly practices, it will become even easier to understand what you can and can’t recycle. 

Not only does recycling help to create a cleaner, more sustainable future, but it can bring jobs immediately to boost the economy. There are really no adverse effects to choosing a greener lifestyle. 

If more people don’t jump on board with reusing certain items, recycling centers across the globe will start to shut down. As a result, more waste will continue to build up, people will lose jobs, and the next generation could experience the harsh effects of climate change sooner than anyone ever expected. It’s not too late to reverse the damage that has already been done, but action needs to be taken now — and it starts with you!

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