Recycle, Reduce, Reuse!

Think of reduce, reuse, and recycle was the 3 Rs-youll never forget them!

Art by Zoey Blackman,

Think of reduce, reuse, and recycle was the 3 R’s-you’ll never forget them!

One of the easiest and most important things you can do to help the planet is recycle!

   Recycling is when you reuse something. In environmental terms, it is when certain trash items are used to make something new rather than throwing them into a landfill. All you have to do is put trash in the right bin. If you know an object is recyclable, when throwing it away, make sure to put it in the recycling can rather than the normal trash can. Recycling cans tend to be green and display the recycling symbol (three arrows looping around in a triangle shape). However, it is sometimes difficult to determine whether something is recyclable or not.

  Instead of assuming the latter, read on, and learn! 

  Here are some items that CAN be recycled: paper (including magazines, newspapers, mail, envelopes, post-it notes, file folders, greeting cards, and regular office paper), cardboard, PAPER bags, green/brown CLEAR bottles and jars, cartons (juice and milk), plastic bottles marked with the correct numbers (will be explained at the end of the article) WITHOUT LIDS, tin and aluminum cans, empty aerosols (ex. hairspray), paper towel rolls inserts (the brown roll inside), paperback books, loose metal jar lids and steel bottle caps. 

  Depending on your area, other items can be recyclable. Become familiar with your community’s guidelines- it is super simple. All you have to do is look it up! You will be amazed by the information you can find.

  Here are some items that can NOT be recycled: plastic bags, travel coffee cups, bubble wrap, ceramics, light bulbs, medical or garden waste, styrofoam, oils. 

  There are a lot more examples of nonrecyclable items, but these are just a few common misconceptions. If you come across an item that is not on either of these lists, look it up! Ask Google or any other search browser whether something is recyclable. It takes two extra seconds out of your day but it can make a huge difference. 

  Lastly, I want to touch on recyclable plastic because this can be confusing. Plastic items are marked with a number (1-7). Usually, this number is found on the bottom of the product. Sometimes, it can be found stamped in the center of the recycling symbol. Each number identifies a different type of plastic. Plastic #1 (water bottles, peanut butter jars, anything else marked with the number one) is the most common type of plastic, and you can recycle it. Plastic #2 (plastic milk jugs, laundry detergent bottles, butter tubs, some shopping bags, and anything marked with number two) is also recyclable. 

  It is harder to tell with plastic numbers 3-7. Sometimes, it depends on your community recycling guidelines. A lot of communities only count the first two plastics as recyclable. If you want to understand completely what you are allowed to recycle, look up your local recycling guidelines. However, you are safe to recycle anything labeled 1 or 2! These make up most plastics. Make it a habit to quickly check the bottom of your plastic items for this number!

  Recycling is an easy step you can take in order to help our beautiful planet. This article provides a basic overview of information, but if you want to learn more, the internet is a great resource. Now, go recycle, reduce, and reuse!