5 Easy Steps To Recycling

5 easy steps to recycling
We all know the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle chant.  And guess what?  It is in that order for a reason.  The BEST option is to reduce. This can be easier said than done and does require a lot more effort and change.  So I say, start with the easier one – recycle – for now.  In time you will get there.  You can’t do it all at once.  Don’t try.  

Recycling varies widely from state to state, town to town, sometimes even within the town!  It can be very confusing and can change.  The thing to remember is to keep taking a peek at the rules – usually things that were NOT recyclable will become recyclable in some manner. 
You also need to find out what is available to you.  Most likely, you have a convenient option available to you for common items like paper, plastics and metals (cans). Then there are other items that, with a little effort, can be recycled or reused as well.
Step One:  Educate Yourself
Find out what form of recycling is available to you.   Do you have curbside recycling, a transfer station or do you use a private hauler?
If you don’t know, do a quick internet search on “your town/city state recycling”.  For example, if I type the following into a search engine “ westford ma recycling”, the first thing that pops up is our town’s recycling website with tons of information.
Once you have this information, take time to read and understand what can and can’t be recycled.  Keep this handy.  You will refer to it often.  
If you have trash and recycling services provided by your city or town, there will be tons of information on recycling.  A little known fact – municipalities pay big bucks for trash and recycling services.  Recycling services are cheaper so they will do whatever it takes to educate and encourage their citizens to recycle instead of throw in the trash.  This includes composting in some areas.  Our town offers a backyard composter for a fraction of the retail price.
Step Two: Analyze Your Trash

This goes along with Step one.  Concentrate on everything you get rid of for a week or so – really look at each item and figure out if it is recyclable in your area or if you can do without it. If you have questions, ask.  This method focuses you and makes it very applicable to what you use. 
Once you know where things go, it will become second nature and you won’t need to think about it.
Step Three: Make It Easy
If something is easy and convenient, more likely you and your family will stick with it.  If you need to sort items, multiple bins might make sense for you.  Do you have space in your kitchen for separate bins?  Where is the best place to put the recycle bin?
Put bins all over the house to catch recyclables.  Convert the office trash can to a recycle bin since 99% of what you get rid of in that room is paper.  Place  another bin on the second floor to catch toilet paper tubes and plastic bottles.
Step Four:  Get Your Family Involved  

Teach them – especially the kids.  They will nag your spouse or grandma for you!  Kids catch on so quickly.  It will become second nature to them in no time.  I have seen this in our schools and with my own children.
Step Five:  Expand Your List of Recyclables

Once you have the easy stuff down pat, add to it!  There are other items that can be recycled or reused with very little extra effort.  If you have a local recycling department, they can be a great resource.  

For more ideas on recycling, check my guide on How to Recycle Everything.

If you are ready for the REDUCE step but need a little push, educate yourself on some of the dangers of the packing you use.  


Happy Recycling!


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5 Responses to 5 Easy Steps To Recycling

  1. Romina October 11, 2012 at 1:38 pm #

    It amazes me how many people still don’t recycle; especially if you can get paid for it. I live in CA and we get cash back for recycling bottles and cans. I know there are places where recycling is more of a challenge, with limited recycling centers, no social support, etc. Hopefully, the physical and social environment will change so it will be more conducive for people to recycle. Maybe they all should read your tips =).

    • Kristina (The Greening Of Westford) October 11, 2012 at 5:11 pm #

      I agree Romina. Especially if you have access to easy recycling. There really isn’t an excuse. It is getting easier and easier – and cheaper for cities and towns to recycle rather than haul all that trash away! I am seeing more public recycling options around here, so hopefully that trend continues.

  2. Small Footprints November 5, 2012 at 7:29 pm #

    Sometimes, with all the “greening” we do, we forget about the basics … and they are so important. Recycling is crucial to living an Eco-friendly life … and these days it’s quite easy. The flip side to recycling is that we also need to really pay attention to our purchases and be sure that the items we buy can be recycled. Thank you for a wonderful post!

    • Kristina (The Greening Of Westford) November 11, 2012 at 2:24 pm #

      Absolutely Small Footprints! RETHINK our purchases and REDUCE them. What I like about recycling is that it really opens up your eyes to what and how much you are getting rid of in some way.


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