Whether you’re making plans for Earth Day or simply looking for ways to do more for the planet, now is the perfect time to revitalize your recycling efforts.
Something as simple as recycling more of the plastic bottles, bags and wraps you use every day can make a big difference. But recycling doesn’t stop with throwing these items in the bin; purchasing products made with recycled materials is another great way to go green!
In fact, nearly 83 percent of Americans say they feel more “green” when buying products made with recycled plastics or other recycled materials, according to a recent survey by Plastics Make It Possible, an initiative sponsored by the plastics industries of the American Chemistry Council.
“Earth Day is the perfect time to close the ‘recycling loop’ by purchasing products made from recycled materials,” said Steve Russell, vice president of the plastics division of the American Chemistry Council. “Many plastics can be recycled and given a second life as clothing, carpeting, furniture, gardening equipment, backyard decks, new bottles and bags and other products we use every day.”
Here are some tips to get you back to recycling basics:
- Understand your local recycling program. Recycling programs vary across the country, but most community curbside programs collect plastic bottles, and many major grocery and retail chains now offer bins to collect plastic bags and wraps for recycling. An increasing number of communities also collect other containers such as yogurt and butter tubs — check to see if yours is one of them.
- Check the neck. For recycling purposes, a bottle is any container with a neck smaller than its base. This includes beverage containers, food jars for products such as mayonnaise and dressings, and bottles for shampoo, laundry detergent and household cleaners. And remember, recyclers want the caps, too!
- Bag it. Collect plastic bags from grocery, retail and dry cleaning stores, and plastic product wraps from items such as newspapers, bread, paper towels, napkins, bathroom tissue and diapers. Simply store the clean bags and wraps inside another bag and then drop them off at a participating grocery or retail store to be recycled.
- Hold on to your recyclables. When away from home, recap and store empty bottles in a backpack, briefcase or your car until you arrive home and can toss them in the recycling bin.
- When in doubt, leave it out. Be careful not to contaminate your recyclables with items that aren’t recycled in your community.
Support the second generation. Recycled materials often go on to become second generation products such as carpeting, fleece jackets and new bottles and bags. For example, eight recycled plastic bottles can create a soft, new t-shirt. Look for innovative products made with recycled materials at your favorite retailer so you can close the recycling loop and reap the rewards of your recycling efforts.