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Your home... Recycling
Recycling Symbol

Fast & Easy Info

  • Recycling turns materials that would otherwise become waste into valuable resources that are reused to make new materials.
  • Among the everyday items you can recycle are newspapers, magazines, junk mail, plastic and glass bottles, aluminum and steel cans, cell phones, PDAs like Palm Pilots and Blackberries, computers, cars, and carpeting.
  • Recycling is good for the economy. Every year, recycling creates 1.1 million U.S. jobs, $236 billion in gross annual sales and $37 billion in annual payrolls. For every job created by collecting recyclables, 26 jobs are created in processing the materials and manufacturing them into new products.
  • Recycling benefits the environment. According to the National Recycling Coalition, it takes 95% less energy to recycle aluminum than it does to make it from scratch.
  • In 2000, recycling resulted in an annual energy savings equal to the amount of energy used in 6 million homes (over 660 trillion BTUs).
  • Every ton of newsprint or mixed paper that is recycled is the equivalent of 12 trees.
  • Recycling one ton of steel saves 1,400 pounds of coal and 120 pounds of limestone.
  • Because recycling conserves resources like trees, water and minerals, it protects nature and wildlife and prevents pollution. It also reduces the climate change associated with using energy.
  • Recycling protects the environment for future generations.

Dollars & Sense Options

Recycling Bin
  • If your community offers curbside recycling, participate. Log on to your municipal website to determine pick-up day of the week, what you can recycle (papers, bottles and cans? just paper? just bottles and cans? grassclippings and yard waste?) and whether you can "commingle" items or must separate them.
  • If you don't have curbside recycling in your community, click here to find the nearest recycling facilities.
  • Buy recycled products as much as possible. Look for paper, office supplies, greeting cards, furniture, carpeting, garden supplies, toys, and clothing made from recycled materials.
  • Reduce what you need to recycle in the first place. Read newspapers online. To stop junk mail, contact the Direct Marketing Association and ask to have your name removed from their mailing lists.

    Mail Preference Service
    Direct Marketing Association
    PO Box 643
    Carmel, NY 10512

  • To recycle computers and other electronics, click here.

Composting is a form of recycling: you turn your leftover food waste and yard debris into mulch. Yard trimmings and food waste together constitute 23 percent of the U.S. municipal solid waste stream. That's a lot of useful garbage to send to landfills when it could become valuable compost instead! Need some "how to compost" tips? Organic Gardening magazine offers this beginner's guide.

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For Your Shopping List:
Recycled Paper Products and Recycling Containers

Recycled Check

You can find office paper, greeting cards, personal checks and gift wrapping made from recycled paper here .

Check out the different options for recycling containers at your local hardware store, or look online here

In My House

Recycling for our family is pretty easy because our city runs a curbside recycling program. Every Monday morning, the city's solid waste crew comes by to pick up any yard debris I can't compost in my yard myself. They'll take leaves, twigs, branches, lawn clippings, and garden waste. They return it to a big city composting area, let it decompose, and the following year it's available to residents for garden mulch at only $50 a truckload - which is much cheaper than buying bags of mulch from the local hardware store. Tuesday morning, the city picks up my paper, bottles and cans in addition to my trash. As a result, I usually only throw away one can full of garbage, and that's for a family of four! It sure makes it easy when the government has a system in place to help residents do the right thing.

Once or twice a year, the city does a hazardous waste sweep. That's when I put out batteries, unused paint, and any other toxic materials I may have had to use over the course of the year and couldn't safely dispose of in the trash or down the drain.

I usually take my used toner cartridges to the local Staples or Office Depot. The stores often offer something in return, like a ream of recycled paper, or a discount coupon I can apply towards the purchase of the next cartridge. I haven't gotten around to recycling my old cell phones yet, but I'm planning to. Meanwhile, the old phones are sitting in my office just collecting dust. I'll have to get them shipped out of here pretty soon.

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What Else?

There's no denying that recycling can be inconvenient if you have to transport your recyclables to a recycling center because your municipality doesn't pick them up for you. That's when it's good to have a copy of "Is Recycling Worthwhile?" on hand.

Message for Moms : Recycling is a great way to start involving your kids in protecting the planet. Look here for some kid-friendly recycling ideas:

Great Idea: Freecycle

When you want to recycle something unwieldy in your home - like a chair, a fax machine, piano, or an old door - you can send an e-mail offering it to members of your local Freecycle group. The Freecycle NetworkT is a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving and getting things for free in their own towns. If a Freecycle group doesn't exist in your community, get one going. After all, it's.free!

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