Recycling has a massive impact in conserving natural resources and improving the state of the environment. While many may think that recycling takes a lot of time and effort, there are some ways to setup the home so that recycling not only becomes efficient, but also uncomplicated for members of the family.
In celebration of Earth Day, here are some simple ways to recycle at home:
Provide several recycling bins in the home, and keep it in a visible place to remind the family to use it. Inform the household of the items that can be recycled, so that they can participate. Most local governments provide a bin for glass, paper, aluminium and plastic. This resource by Gov.uk allows residents to search whether their local authority collects recyclables.
Reduce the amount of incoming mail by signing up for subscriptions online for magazine and newsletter subscriptions, as well as for bills. Apart from reducing the amount of paper, it will also also save on space as the information can be digitally accessed and no longer has to be filed.
When mowing grass on the lawn, most homeowners bag and throw away the trimmed grass. University of Idaho advises against it, as grass trimmings can be a valuable source of nutrients for the garden. They suggest spreading the trimmings neatly all over the lawn to serve as fertilizer.
They explain that when left on the lawn, properly mowed grass clippings filter down the soil and decompose. As they break down, the clippings feed soil organisms, recycle plant nutrients, and contribute organic matter to the soil. As a result, water is conserved and less fertilizer is needed.
When one squeezes the last amount of shampoo from a bottle, or toothpaste from a tube, the first instinct is to throw it in the trash. According to this article by Mother Nature Network, about 552 million bottles alone end up in landfills every year.
Aside from recycling bath items, another way to conserve resources in the bath is to recycle greywater for gardening. According to World Wildlife Fund, greywater, or waste water from the household other than toilets, make up about 60% of household water use. This water may be used instead for the garden or for car cleaning, to reduce water use.
To learn more about greywater use, World Wildlife Fund provided a guide here.
The kitchen is perhaps the most used room in the house. It is where the family gathers, and waste can pile up if one allows it.
Aside from using the recycling bin provided outside the home, a major way to reduce waste in the kitchen is to avoid dependency on plastic. The material is omnipresent in every kitchen; it is used in food storage, food packaging, waste collection and even in kitchen and cookware.
While one can argue that plastic is reusable, the horrible truth about plastic is that it never fully decomposes and will only break down over a long period of time. In fact, according to this article by Stanford University, it can be closely linked to climate changed because of the 1:1 ratio of carbon dioxide emitted for every ounce of plastic produced.
Moreover, studies have shown that plastic contains Bisphenol A or BPA, which can pose potential risk to the family’s health when ingested.
To reduce dependence on plastic, environmental news website Ecowatch recommends the following:
1. Use reusable container when ordering take out.
According to the Stanford University article, plastic bottles and straws are two of the top ten most common types of litter found on beaches.
2. Use cloth shopping bags.
Plastic bags are dangerous to wildlife. To eliminate their use, keep cloth bags in the car, so it is ready to use when shopping.
3. Avoid buying products that are made of or packaged in plastic.
When buying food products, opt for ones that come in reusable packaging, such as glass or paper boxes. For kitchenware, use BPA-free materials such as silicone. Silicone does not have BPA, and can handle high temperatures without leaching chemicals into food.
Basics2you offers BPA free kitchenware alternatives.
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Main image from KS Environmental Australia.