For me, living a simple life includes caring for the earth. We can make a difference – one household at a time. One way is to recycle and teach our children to recycle. “Through careful recycling, you can reduce the amount of garbage you send to the landfill by 50-75% or more.” (Eco-team). Our family’s goal is to have more recycling than garbage every time we haul it to the alley.
1) Check with your city. If you aren’t sure how recycling works in your area, find out. Some cities want the recycling divided by category: glass, paper, plastic … Other cities commingle all the recyclables in one large container and the city sorts it.
2) Create a recycling station. Our city requires recycling to be sorted. So we have a bag for cans, cardboard and paper in the kitchen. Space in the kitchen is limited so the newspaper and catalogs ended up downstairs. Some people find room in the garage, entry or laundry room. Just make sure that it’s accessible and easy to use. If you sort with paper bags you may find this useful. Or check here for recycling bins.
3) Learn the numbers. A few years ago the Star Tribune ran an article listing which plastics are recyclable. It’s been taped to the inside of my cupboard door ever since. If you flip a plastic container over you will see a number inside a triangle. Have you wondered what the numbers mean and if the item is recyclable? Here are the numbers de-coded:
1) Yes. It’s recyclable. This is the plastic contained in soda, water and vinegar bottles. They are later processed into fiber for clothing and carpet.
2) Yes. These are containers for detergent, bleach, milk, shampoo and hair conditioner. They are reincarnated as bulletproof vests and toys.
3) No. Pipes, shower curtains, meat wraps and cooking oil bottles are not recyclable.
4) Yes. Grocery bags are not recycled curbside but many grocery stores have bins at their entrances.
5) Yes. Tupperware, syrup bottles, yogurt tubs, and outdoor carpet. These can be recycled but are not picked up at the curb. Check with your city for more information.
6) No. Coffee cups, disposable cutlery and cups, bakery shells, meat trays, foam insulation and most packing peanuts. Packaging can be reused.
7) No. These products are labeled “other.”