It was only about four decades ago that three arrows in the shape of a triangle started appearing on garbage cans across major cities. But today, you’ll be hard-pressed to go more than a day or so without seeing the famous recycle logo or hearing about recycling, and for good reason! Recycling is one of the simplest and most substantial ways we can protect our environment.
In honor of America Recycles Day, we’re sharing just a few of the many ways you can transform your home into an eco-friendly haven (or at the very least, a home that now recycles!).
Think beyond paper and plastic recycling.
Paper and plastic remain the most popular recyclable items in American households, so it’s no surprise that organizations focus on them the most. But there are so many other things you can recycle. Take, for instance, electronics. According to the EPA, Americans throw out two million tons of electronics every year. Before you trash your old printer, think about donating or recycling it.
Clearly mark recycling bins.
Make sure guests and little ones know exactly where their finished water bottles and soda cans can go by marking or color coding recycling bins. Take things a step further and have multiple bins labeled for paper, plastic, and metal.
Teach your kids to recycle.
The fact that it’s America Recycles Day probably doesn’t mean much to your five-year-old. But while kids may not be able to fully understand what recycling is or why it’s important, it’s never too early to teach them eco-friendly habits. Reading bedtime stories that put recycling into kid-friendly terms or teaching kids to never litter will shape the way they treat our Earth as adults.
Craft with what you already have.
Speaking of getting kids involved in your recycling efforts at home, teach them about up-cycling by using things around the house for craft time. Use plastic bottles to make a garden, piggy bank, or whatever else their creative little minds can think of!
Everything you throw into your compost gets a new life in your backyard. As those banana peels, strawberry stems, eggshells, and coffee grounds start to naturally decompose, they’ll become nutrients for your plants and garden. Not to mention, well-maintained compost piles emit almost no methane gas!
Start a garden at home.
It would almost take us too long to list all the amazing benefits of gardening. In addition to being good for your mind, body, and wallet, gardening is great for the environment. With a garden in your very own backyard, you’ll cut down on the number of trucks needed to deliver produce to grocery stores. Plants also reduce pollution by taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen — win, win!
Have we encouraged you to start recycling yet? If not, take a look at a few of these stats:
- Recycling the Sunday edition of the New York Times would save 75,000 trees.
- A recycled can can be back on the grocery shelf in as few as 60 days.
- There’s no limit to the number of times glass or aluminum can be recycled.
- The United States currently recycles about 42 percent of its waste. Though this is up from years ago, we think there’s always room for improvement!
Happy America Recycles Day! Now head out and spread the eco-friendly word to your friends and family!