Recycling tips to use at home

Using these recycling tips at home is an easy way to do your part to protect the environment.

You’ve probably noticed that a wide range of commonly used items can be recycled these days. In the past, people probably collected your cans and took them to a local recycling center to trade them in for a few dollars. Now, you can recycle everything from shoes to wood to cars.

In many places, you can recycle a number of these items right on your own curb. Local trash collection companies may remove your recyclables and take them to the appropriate center for reuse. Using these recycling tips at home is an easy way to do your part to protect the environment and keep landfills free of recyclables.

Call your trash company

Recycling at home is good for the environment.

If your area’s trash collection is handled by a private company, call and ask them to add you to the recycling pick-up route. Because this is typically done with a different truck than the one that removes your garbage, you’ll need to notify your service provider that you want to use its recycling program.

This typically costs a small monthly fee, but saves you from having to sort and transport your recyclables to the appropriate center. Once you have signed up, your trash company will provide you with a list of items they’ll pick up, and may even drop off a container to put your items in. Some allow you to use your own containers, so check to ensure you’re following their guidelines.

Learn the recycling codes

Learn the recycling codes. Shutterstock

In most cases you can find the recycling code for a given product by looking on the bottom of it. Most of the time you’ll see three arrows that form a rounded triangle with a number inside. This number is the item’s recycling code, and you can use it to be sure you’re only adding items to your recycling container that are allowed under your program. In most cases, this covers glass, aluminum, cardboard, paper, steel food cans, and Styrofoam. You likely won’t be able to leave kitchen appliances, clothing, shoes, automobiles, furniture, metal, or wood at your curb. For items that your company won’t pick up, look for centers in your area that will recycle them for you.

Recycling etiquette

Keep recycling etiquette. Shutterstock

Among other recycling tips, you should rinse items before tossing them into your recycling bin. This keeps the recycling load clean and prevents your bin from getting smelly and dirty between pick-up days. If your recycling company prefers that you separate out different materials, you’ll need several small bins rather than one larger one.

Check with your company to ensure that you’re sorting your recycling properly. When you put your recycling out for collection, don’t put it in the same location as your trash cans. This can be confusing for the trash truck drivers and your recycling may end up on the wrong truck. In many places, the trash goes on one side of the driveway and the recycling on the other, but be sure to check with your company for its procedures.