Earth Week Day 4: Five Easy Ways to Start Recycling

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Ways to start recycling today

Earth Week Day 4: Five Easy Ways to Start Recycling

Welcome to day 4 of our Earth Week #ptchange1thing challenge!

Change 1 Thing: Recycling

Plant Therapy Earth Week Day 4: RecyclingRecycling is one of the best and easiest ways that you can have a positive impact on the environment! Recycling is important to both the natural environment and our planet.

The amount of waste we create is constantly increasing for several reasons:

  • People are buying more products and creating more waste.
  • There are more people on our planet, which means there are more people to create waste!
  • New packaging, especially for tech products, is created with non-biodegradable materials.
  • Global lifestyle changes, like eating fast food, mean that we create tons more waste that isn’t biodegradable.

Recycling is super important! Waste has a huge negative impact on the natural environment.

  • Harmful chemicals and greenhouse gasses are released from the garbage in landfills. Recycling helps to reduce the pollution caused by waste.
  • Habitat destruction and global warming are just some of the effects caused by deforestation. Recycling reduces the need for raw materials so that the rainforests can be preserved.
  • Recycling requires much, much less energy than what is used to make new products. It also helps to preserve natural resources.

Basically, we should all be at least thinking about recycling, even if it’s just something small.

1. Recycle as much as you can at home.

Ways to start recycling todayHere’s my confession: I’m a not-so-great recycler. How is it that I’m a professional adult and somehow still don’t know how to properly “recycle”? I’m not against recycling in any way. I try to reduce my waste and follow all the other tips mentioned here. I would even recycle if it required more work on my part! But…it seems like there’s a mysterious secret list somewhere of what can and cannot be recycled. And that list is in a castle far away guarded by a series of riddles and an angry wizard.

But we’re recycling today, so clearly it was time for me to do some research! Here’s what I found:

Some general rules of recycling, or recycling 101

  • Recycle bottles, cans, and paper (yay! Easy enough…)
  • Keep items for recycling as clean as you can
  • Don’t mix plastic bags in with the rest of your recycled items. Seriously. 

What can you recycle?

  • Hard plastics
  • Plastic bottles
  • Paper and cardboard
  • Aluminum and steel cans
  • Glass food containers, jars, and bottles

This, of course, depends on your city. But even if your city doesn’t offer curbside recycling pick-up, you can still look up a recycling center in your neighborhood and donate the items the city doesn’t take.

What isn’t recyclable?

  • Plastic shopping bags
  • Plastic cling wrap (instead, make your own DIY beeswax version!)
  • Polystyrene foam cups or containers
  • Egg cartons
  • Take out containers
  • Drinking cups
  • Soiled food items
  • Dirty food containers
  • Dirty paper products
  • Broken or sharp glass
  • Fast food packaging
  • Plastic utensils

The moral of the story is that you should try to recycle as much as possible from these lists and avoid using what you can’t recycle. It’s actually that easy!

2. Avoid fast fashion and shop secondhand for clothing.

Ways to start recycling todayWe’ve already talked about taking steps towards natural and green living. And avoiding fast fashion is incredibly important.

Did you know it takes 2700 liters of water to make one cotton t-shirt? Then think about how many new items of clothing in your closet you haven’t even worn yet (no judgment here, we’re all guilty). Yeah…that’s a lot of water!

But maybe it’s time to consider the number of resources and labor it takes to make new consumer products, especially clothing. By shopping for secondhand clothes, you can save money, reduce waste and support a local charity while you’re at it. Plus upcycling used clothing is a fun and creative way to make old pieces feel new.

And if scouring your local thrift store isn’t your idea of fun, you can also check out consignment shops or online marketplaces for lightly used, quality items.

3. Re-use old containers, packaging, and wood.

Ways to start recycling todayThink outside the box! Reuse old products in different ways to keep from producing waste. Plastic microwave dinner trays can be used as picnic dishes and coffee cans can be used to pack lunch. Thinking about other ways to use these throwaway items helps save on the costs of purchasing new items.

There are so, so many ways to re-use old containers instead of throwing them away. Here’s just a short list:

  • Reuse old lip balm tubes to make your own chapstick.
  • Use old tin cans as biscuit or cookie cutters in the kitchen.
  • Turn old rotisserie chicken containers into mini-greenhouses.
  • Reuse old coffee creamer bottles as snack containers.
  • Turn old milk jugs into garden scoops or watering cans.
  • Use egg cartons as seedling planters.
  • Old wine bottles make great water glasses. All you need is a glass cutter!
  • Clean old candle jars and use for storing small things like q-tips.

4. Compost your leftover food and garden scraps.

Ways to start recycling todayComposting is a great way of recycling unused food! Things to compost include non-meat items like vegetable peelings, fruit waste, tea bags, plants, and grass cuttings. These items break down quickly (and provide important nitrogen as well as moisture). It’s also good to include some things like cardboard egg cartons, paper products, and tree leaves.

Bonus tip: Especially if you’re composting your food scraps you need to make sure you wash your produce before you eat it. You should anyways (because no one wants to eat pesticides or poo) but if you’re composting those foods you absolutely don’t want those chemicals potentially leaking into your nutrient-rich soil.

5. Do simple repairs on broken items (Girl, you got this!)

Those inexpensive earrings that broke the second time you wore them. That chair with the wiggly leg. The sunglasses that lost their arm because one of those tiny annoying screws came out…all these things can be easily repaired, saving you the trouble of replacing them.

Honestly, YouTube is a fantastic resource for repairing most things. Spending a few extra minutes learning how to repair them yourself saves you money and helps the environment. Plus you get bonus girl-power points!

Further Reading for Going Green

Head to our Facebook group, Safe Essential Oil Recipes (SEOR) for more amazing ways to use essential oils on your journey to greener living!

Be sure to check back tomorrow to see how our Plant Therapy team is doing with our recycling challenge!

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8 thoughts on “Earth Week Day 4: Five Easy Ways to Start Recycling”

  • We’ve been recycling for years and bringing our own containers when we take out food. But there’s much more we can do.

  • We do all of these things anyways, especially reusing/repurposing. I wonder why egg cartons aren’t recycable? They break down easy in tne garden.

  • I recycle whatever I possibly can. been composting for years (great for my garden). I love when my daughter gives me clothes, shoes, and jewelry she no longer wants! And I reuse most jars over and over (I have quite a collection!)

  • Thank you. I like it when company recycle. You should look into more ways to make recycled package so there no wasted.

  • My parents didn’t have a lot of money when I was growing up, so we reused many containers, and we were very conscious about the electricity and water we were using. So when I got my own place, and had my own children, I kept up with recycling/reusing items, and conserving energy and water.

  • The grocery stores near us take the used grocery bags and I know several small farmers that I take my empty egg cartons to. We recycle as much as possible, to the point that we, being a family of four generally only have 1 bag of trash a week that is picked up. Occasionally we have two but never more than two and the second one is small. I have a compost bin out back that all of our veggie scraps and other compost items go in and I then use the rich dirt to put around my strawberries. Win, win!! Our county does not recycle glass but a neighboring county does and I take my glass there. The summertime is bad because my drive to work passes the area where the dump is and it smells horrible. Please do all that you can to keep trash from going to the dumps!

  • Absolutely! However, I’m not in love with the “not recyclable” list. Some of those things definitely are, though sometimes not with the big things like plastic, paper, glass, etc. Grocery and other bags are almost always accepted at grocery/local stores, some plastic silverware is actually labeled for recycling now, Styrofoam is sometimes accepted depending on local facilities, and if nothing else, give egg cartons to locals that sell eggs!

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