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Saving the Planet: 3 Things You Didn’t Know about Recycling

Most communities around the United States offer some kind of recycling service for their residents. However, most people do not recall all of the items on the list these agencies distribute to their users. Here are some important tips you may not know about recycling and what you can do to recycle products more effectively.

Not All Plastic Is Recyclable

Although putting your plastic soda and milk containers may be an established habit by now, you may be placing other plastic items in your recyclables that cannot be recycled. The recycling of plastic depends on its market value for re-use. Your community may accept some types of plastic, but not others. Read their pamphlets for information on what they will take. Styrofoam food trays and packing materials cannot be recycled. You should avoid using these products whenever possible. Some pack-and-ship stores may take Styrofoam packing peanuts for reuse.

Electronics Contain Valuable Metals & Toxic Substances

The number of computers, tablets and smartphones in circulation has grown exponentially in recent years, not only in industrialized nations, but also in less developed areas. These devices are manufactured using a variety of materials, including plastics, metals and toxic substances. Some of these substances can add to pollution and others are unsafe for human health.

Recycling devices can help to safely dispose of these items, and re-use the components. Many electronics manufacturers offer a take-back program for their products that helps to safely re-manufacture or dispose of items that are no longer functioning. In addition, your community may offer a drop-off center for safe disposal of electronic products. Check your community’s website for information about things like cellphone, battery, and laptop recycling before moving forward with any disposal method.

Glass & Metal Can Be Recycled over and Over

When you choose glass or metal containers, you are choosing materials that can be recycled and re-used almost endlessly. These materials break down into natural components that do not cause pollution. In addition, processing them back into reusable products is cost-effective. And it’s easy to find new uses for glass and metal items in your own home.

Recycling can make a significant difference in the amount of energy used to make products, as well as the amount of pollution that is added to the environment on a daily basis. Educating yourself on the finer points of recycling can help make human habitation on the Earth more sustainable. Keep these 3 points in mind as you recycle during your everyday life, and you will be making a contribution to improving the environment.

  • Emma Sturgis, the author of this post, is a freelance writer from Boston, MA

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