A household recycling bin issued by the local ...

A household recycling bin issued by the local council (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Realty Times Feature Article by Carla Hill

Are you looking for better ways to make your household “green”? If so, you’re part of a growing number of Americans who are demanding green homes, products, and foods.

Green living can be a great way to save money, safeguard health, and respect Mother Earth. It’s truly a win-win-win. Although the EPA estimates that 75 percent of solid waste is recyclable, only about 30 percent is actually recycled. Are you doing it right? Can you do it better?

The benefits of recycling are far reaching. The EPA reports that:

  • Recycling protects and expands US manufacturing jobs and increases US competitiveness. 
  • Recycling reduces the need for landfilling and incineration. 
  • Recycling prevents pollution caused by the manufacturing of products from virgin materials
  • Recycling saves energy.
  • Recycling decreases emissions of greenhouse gases that contribute to global climate change.
  • Recycling conserves natural resources such as timber, water, and minerals.
  • Recycling helps sustain the environment for future generations. HouseLogic.com reports that to be a smart recycler you need to know how the process works. For instance, “If you drink from a plastic bottle, remove the twist-off cap and ring. They aren’t recyclable. In fact, bottles that arrive at recycling centers with the caps still on often are trashed. It’s too much work for the center’s employees to remove every cap, so do your part and remove them.” That means all your hard work would be wasted! The good news? It doesn’t take a whole lot of effort to be a smart recycler. Here are some great tips on how to be a top-notch recycler in your house:


  • Rinse. Be sure to rinse out all cans and bottles before you toss them in the recycling bin. Think of it this way: you are preparing these items for recycling, not the landfill. It might take a little extra time. If you have an item that has lots of food residue you can’t remove, however, then it may be best to just toss it. Residue can literally “gum up the works” at the recycling center.
  • Remove Labels. Take a few extra seconds to remove labels from all bottles and cans.
  • Coordinate. Take a few moments to talk with your local recycling center about what issues they often see, what types of plastics they accept (so you know what triangle symbol to be on the lookout for), and of course what they don’t accept. Every center is different! The average person creates about 1.5 tons of trash each year. Take a few extra seconds each day to prep your recycling and you’ll be going a long ways in reducing your carbon footprint.