My hope is that these tips to reduce your environmental footprint come in handy. And to start, let’s talk about recycling. I wish recycling was something you didn’t really have to think about. However, as you can guess, every state, even cities within the state, has its own rules and guidelines to follow. And some you may not even realize! So before you go chuck that container in your recycling bin, let’s start with the basics.
How To Recycle In Your Area
If you’re unsure what’s allowed and not allowed in your area, the best thing to do is search for the word recycling followed by your city name. You’ll be able to find information about the materials accepted and how they need to be dropped off. For example, I’m thrilled that my little town takes plastics marked as #1, #2, #4, #5, and #7.
But I can’t add plastics without these numbers marked on the bottom within the recycling arrows symbol. Those have to be tossed out in the regular trash. Most recycling programs also want food containers to be rinsed and will not take plastic bags or cardboard that hasn’t been flattened or has styrofoam in it. Also, many cities have specific recycling days for items like cell phones and rechargeable batteries.
What’s Generally Not Accepted
As for things that aren’t accepted, common items are yard waste like grass clippings, hazardous waste like paint cans, hardbound books, diapers, and electronics. Unfortunately, there are still people who drop these items off regardless. That doesn’t mean you should follow suit, though. Many cities will list helpful information on where you can safely dispose of things you don’t want, but can’t be recycled.
A Great Resource No Matter Where You Live
Another good resource is epa.gov/recycle. There is a ton of information on their site on not just recycling, but ways you can reduce your environmental footprint. I especially love these tips for things you can do at home to be more earth-friendly.
Ways You Can Reduce Your Environmental Footprint
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A while back, I wrote about sustainability swaps. I love being able to order hand soap refills from Grove in a recyclable pouch instead of purchasing another plastic bottle. My Grove membership has helped me discover a slew of products that helped me cut back on the waste that I can control. If you’re interested in non-toxic, earth-friendly products, you can get started with Grove here. They’re always running special promotions!
- Give up plastic bottled water already. Unless you have bad local water, most of what you have on tap is fine to drink. Or, it can be filtered first. Invest in a few refillable bottles instead, and take them everywhere.
- If your Keurig dies, consider a plain old coffee maker. like my Cuisinart. We did and we don’t regret it for a second. Those Keurig pods are expensive and not earth-friendly at all. Plus, as I mentioned here, coffee grounds are free fertilizers for your garden!
- Consider a microfiber cloth paired with a non-toxic cleaner in place of paper towels.
- Keep reusable shopping bags in your car. You never know when you may need to make a quick grocery stop. And it’s one less plastic bag hitting the landfill.
- Use reusable rags, mops, and sponges for cleaning chores.
Other Things You Can Do
- Have a garage sale, and then donate what you don’t sell.
- Use what you have, and take care of it. Many things end up in landfills just because they’re not maintained properly.
- Don’t make needless car trips back and forth. Plan your route and make all of your stops in one trip to use the least amount of gas, and also have the least aggravation.
I hope these inspire you to do your part to keep our planet cleaner and greener!