10 tips for optimal recycling

May 17 is Global Recycling Day. It is the right occasion to remember the importance of treating waste properly, in order to protect the environment. Let’s remember the rule of the 3 Rs: reduce, reuse and recycle.

 

At 3Love we want to share with you some tips for optimal recycling.

 

1. Reduce the use of plastic in your daily life. Grocery bags dissolve in potentially harmful microplastics and, in the case of ingestion, hurt and kill animals. A fundamental first step is to change harmful plastic bags for canvas or cloth bags, to do the shopping and transport small objects.

 

2. Other ways to reduce plastic consumption are: always carry a reusable water bottle, indicate in restaurants and cafeterias that you do not want disposable straws on your drinks, pack your food in glass containers and avoid the purchase of products that come wrapped in plastic.

 

3. How can we reuse waste? Before throwing them in the trash, evaluate if they can be used for something else: bottles, bags and cardboard boxes can have various uses and serve as flower pots, elements for decoration, make homemade crafts, etc.

 

4. Separate the waste and deposit it in the corresponding container:

  • Blue container: Paper and cardboard.
  • Yellow container: Containers such as bottles, bags and cans. Clean the containers first and, when possible, flatten them to reduce their volume.
  • Light green container: Glass. Clean the containers first and remove the lids.
  • Dark green container: Rest of waste, such as organic matter.

 

5. Avoid recycling items smaller than a credit card. That includes straws, bottle caps, plastic cutlery, paper clips, and other tiny things that we use in our daily lives. These objects are too small to be sorted and can jam the recycling equipment. For example, at Montgomery County, Maryland’s Recycling Center, these contaminants can shut down machines 10–15 times a day.

 

6. Avoid single-use items as much as possible. As a rule of thumb, aluminum foil, plastic utensils and Styrofoam should not go into the recycling bin.

 

7. Don’t put your recyclables in plastic bags. Also, do not put any plastic bags in the recycling bin, as they tend to get jammed in recycling processing equipment.

 

8. Food waste is a big problem in recycling, contaminating entire loads of recyclable material, rendering it useless and then going directly to landfills. Therefore, when recycling food containers, remember that they must be clean, empty and dry. For example, if the bottom of a pizza box is stained with grease and cheese, it should not be recycled, but the top can be cut and used for recycling (as long as it is clean).

 

9. Recycle all the paper you can and keep it clean. Recycling 2.200 lb. of paper saves the lives of 17 trees. Also recycle clean and flattened cardboard boxes. Remove all tape and plastic wrap that might be attached to the cardboard.

 

10. There are a lot of things that we accumulate throughout our lives, such as batteries, electronic devices, paint cans, toys, clothes, etc. Not all of these materials can be recycled in the same place. Therefore, it is better to research on the internet the nearest recycling centers for each material and what the special instructions for recycling them are.

 

By: Juan Carlos Ugarelli

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