You’ve probably heard about recycling since you were a wee lad (or lassie). But as much as recycling is touted as a “green thing to do”, only 30% of our waste is recycled. Americans throw away 4.62 pounds of trash per person every day.
So why recycle? Recycling saves energy and keeps our natural resources from being depleted. Nearly all recyclable materials save energy by shortening the supply chain…that is, using less energy to remove the raw material from the ground, ship it, and process it. That’s less oil we have to drill, less trees we cut down, and less ore that needs to be mined, resulting in smaller environmental impact and more energy savings.
Recycling (and using recycled products) means you are saving energy that’s beyond your immediate surroundings. And while you may not see the savings on your electricity bill, the more energy we as a planet save together, the less our impact is and the lower our overall costs are going to be.
How to Recycle
The first step is to reduce consumption in the first place. Reduce the amount you need to throw away by making smart consumer choices. Secondly, before recycling, think about repurposing. Try to sell your old stuff, or give it away on Craigslist, Freecycle, ReuseitNetwork, or local swap shops.
If you can’t give it away, then recycle it! So you think you know how to recycle, but have you ever wondered what to do with old paint? Motor oil? How about electronics or old appliances? What about bottle caps? Getting the most out of your recycling program involves knowing the rules. Look up what can and can’t be recycled in your area at http://earth911.com/. Or visit the website of your city, town, or county!
Once you know what and where to recycle, go for it! We believe that Joulebugs are capable of recycling 60% of their trash, twice the normal recycling rate. Chuck that stuff in the right bin and know that you’ve taken another step toward a wise use of energy in your life.