Recycling and Climate Change – Here’s What You Need to Know

Climate change is a big issue in our daily lives, with a lot of people changing everyday habits to ‘do their bit’ for a better future. Whether you always bring your own bags to the store with you, have a reusable straw that you are never without, or bring your own mug to coffee shops so as not to use a disposable cup, it seems like everyone is going green. Eco friendly trends started way back when with recycling, the first of all of great efforts. Just why is recycling so good for our environment? Can it really help to combat climate change? For answers to the questions and more, keep reading.

What is recycling?

Recycling might seem like it is a process with too much technical language to understand. In a way you would be right, but in another way it is really quite simple. When raw materials (not recycled) are used in manufacturing goods, it takes a lot of energy, and expends a lot of greenhouse gases to extract these raw materials. Reducing the amount of plastic products and other harmful to the planet materials is a great way to work with recycling to leave the planet in better shape than it was before. Waste management New England by New England Recycling can help you with all your recycling needs.

What are the Most Commonly Recycled Materials?

Many people know that paper products, cardboard and most drink containers are recyclable, but what about other things that you throw away on a daily basis? If you work in the construction industry, you should be aware that a lot of paperboard and pressed fiber board can be recycled. It is a widely used product in construction, from the minor to the major, and recycling it at the rate it is used is always a good idea.

In addition to products from a wood pulp, another common thing to recycle is the good old can. Whether a standard tin or steel can from some soup or an aluminum can from some soda, they can be recycled. In fact, steel is our most commonly recycled product that is used over. At least 80% of all steel used in manufacturing today was recycled and reduced to its raw form. Aluminum is the most in demand recyclable these days, and the ubiquitousness of an aluminum soda can means they are always in demand. Waste management New England recycles all items in this list.

So after paper products and metal things, what is the most common component of consumer goods? That’s right, it is plastic and the good news is that a lot of it can be recycled. In fact, the standard plastic bottle (a #1 bottle) is one of the most commonly recycled items in this day and age. You can also recycled other plastics, designated by a number stamped somewhere on the bottom. Numbers 2-7 can all be tossed in the recycling bin.

Should I Prepare Items Before Throwing Them in the Recycling Bin?

When putting things out to be taken for processing at recycling centers, you do want to make sure that thy are clean and easy to manage. For some items, like glass containers or plastic bottles this might mean washing and drying them individually. For something like a cardboard box, just make sure it is free of any debris and folded flat. It’s not necessary for the cardboard to be flat in order to be processed, but it makes it easier on you when you are bringing it to your local recycling center.

It is also important to sort out your recyclables before dropping them in the bin. The process by which paper is recycled is different from the way glass is recycled, and that is still different from the way plastic is recycled. Each material will have its own process and need to be handled in a different way. Sorting it before it is taken to the processing plants just makes the job a little easier. It’s like taking the corn husks off of ears of corn at the grocery store, it just makes your job a little easier and a little shorter when you get it home. Waste management New England by New England Recycling can help you if you have any questions about preparing your bins.

How do you Recycle Harmful Products?

Products that are harmful to other humans or the environment are labeled hazardous waste, and did you know that many things you likely have in your home now fall under this designation? These are called Household Hazardous Waste (or HHW) items and can include aerosol cans, any corrosive, flammable or toxic chemicals, and even something as seemingly harmless as motor oil.

If you have any of these items and want to dispose of them, the good news is that many of these items can be recycled. However, it is not as simple as putting it in your green or blue bucket, instead it is a pretty heavy process. Laws regarding the handling of hazardous waste vary county to county, so you will have to look up the specific laws governing where you reside. Next you will schedule a home visit to pick it up if that is recommended, or request a mail in recycling kit to do it yourself.

Going green, omitting to an eco friendly lifestyle these days seems all about reusing every container you have, or reusing grocery bags until they fall apart, but please do not forget what started it all. Recycling has been around for decades, and has done an immeasurable service toward lowering our greenhouse gases and making our carbon footprint a lot smaller, but there is still more to do. Get committed to recycling.

How Does all of this Affect Climate Change? 

When we recycle, or make old materials useful again, there is no need to extract new ones, whether it be by mining, quarrying or logging. The energy used and greenhouse gases expended by processing plants where recyclables are made into raw material again is negligible to the amount of energy that using items made from recycled material can save. Recycling is a forefather of the new green movement. As a celebrated member of the three r’s (reduce, reuse, recycle), it is well known to be a driving force in the climate change fight. Contact waste management New England experts at New England Recycling today to learn how  you can get great service, and give back to the planet at the same time.