Recycle How-Tos

Wondering how to recycle more? Here are a few ways to learn about how you can recycle as much as you can locally, and become a better friend to the environment:

TRASH DAY RECYCLING

All of us are familiar with the recycle box provided by our trash hauler, and most of us separate waster from recyclable items.  However, here are some things you should know:

  1. The recycle programs vary between municipalities and trash haulers.  An item that’s recyclable in a neighboring municipality may not be in yours.  For example, yogurt and similar food containers, even though they carry a #5 recycle label cannot be recycled in the towns of Lancaster and Alden.
  2. Recyclable items should NOT be placed in plastic shopping bags or tied up with string.  The bags and string can jam the sorting machinery.

TIP:  Your municipality web-site or city/town/village offices will have a list of items that will be accepted for recycling, including how to prepare them if required.

EVERYTHING ELSE….

So you visited your municipal web-site and you know what will be picked up on recycle day.  Now what about everything else?  The following web-sites will tell you what to do with a wide range of items – many that customarily end up in the trash because we’re not aware of the options available to us.  Become familiar with the items on the following lists.  Understand that some of these items will have to be taken somewhere in your community, or sometimes mailed/shipped, to be properly recycled.

  1. www.earth911.com – Log into the site.  Then key in the item in question along with your zip code.  The site will advise if the item is recyclable and where to take it locally, or elsewhere if there isn’t a local option.
  2. http://www.ppgbuffalo.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/how-to-recycle-in-buffalo-niagara.pdf  is a link to an article entitled How to Recycle in Buffalo-Niagara.  There are a great many items on this site that can be kept out of a landfill.

ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS

  • Recycled items/materials are often made into something else, which means energy is expended to create the new item.  Whenever you can, reuse or repurpose the item in its original form and extend its useful life.
  1. You might resurface a kitchen countertop rather than purchase one that’s pre-made.  If you decide to replace it, acquire a new one made from recycled materials.  Then create another workspace with the old one in your garage or basement, or give it to a friend or relative.
  2. Buy reusable bags for groceries and other shopping.  They’re about a buck apiece and will last for years.
  • Certain hazardous items, like medicine and paints/solvents, aren’t recycled but need to be disposed of properly.  Use the web-sites to determine what to do with them.
  • PRE-CYCLE – Think about what you’re going to do with an item when you’re finished with it before you acquire it.  Do you really need it?  Is it recyclable?  Is it packaged with recyclable materials?
  • Buy recycled goods.   The list is endless – countertops, decking, cabinetry, clothing, greeting cards, paper, and so on. TEN THOUSAND VILLAGES, a retail outlet, sells some amazing, useful, “fair traded” gifts and crafts, many made with recycled cans, juice containers, newsprint, scrap metal, and other materials.  And you’re helping lift these artisans out of poverty.

Adopt the mindset that everything can be recycled or reused until proven otherwise.  Use the available web tools to help determine that.