We all know that recycling is good for the environment, but did you know it can also be good for you and your community? Recycling creates jobs, saves precious resources, provides extra income to some, and can even help support deserving charities. Here are just a few tips on how you can make recycling a part of your everyday life.
- Make recycling a habit. Just like you brush your teeth each day or throw out your trash, recycle. Curbside recycling in some cities makes it easy for you. Check out Earth911 to see if your city has curbside recycling and how you can sign up.
- Go green, get green. Although not every city has a curbside recycling program, most have recycling centers where you can take your old aluminum cans and other items. The upside to these? You can make money! The prices do change and vary in different places; but for example, in Spokane, Washington, the current price for a pound of aluminum cans is 50 cents. That money can add up over time. One New Richmond man even made $60,000 to put towards his grandsons’ college tuitions just from selling aluminum cans.
- Get bigger bins! Some of you may already be recycling, but what do you do if your small bin fills up on Tuesday? Do you get another one or do you just start throwing things away? Studies show that households with larger recycling bins will recycle 30-50 percent more. That’s why cities like Atlanta have switched to 96-gallon bins – and are already seeing results.
- Think green with all of your trash. Cans, paper and plastics aren’t the only things that can be recycled. Things like your broken TV, an old iPhone and even your non-stick pans are suitable for recycling. A Novelis customer Calphalon recently started a new program, the Calphalon ReNew Program, where customers can mail in their old pots and pans to be recycled. When you buy a Calphalon Unison Nonstick product, Calphalon provides you a shipping box and prepaid FedEx mailing label to use to send your used cookware to Calphalon. The company then ships it to a recycling center and sends you two reusable cotton shopping bags. It doesn’t get easier than that.
- Involve the kids. As people around the globe recognize the benefits of recycling, more schools are employing recycling programs. If your child’s school doesn’t have one, help start one! One teacher in Marietta, Georgia, nicknamed the “Green Girl,” started her school’s recycling program, school garden and composting initiative. Her team of cape-wearing students, nicknamed the Green Team, is responsible for collecting the recyclables each day.
- Recycle at work. You’re sitting at your desk and in need of a caffeine jolt. Do you grab a soda? Studies show that the average employee consumes 2.5 beverages each day while at work. That’s almost 600 beverages a year! Don’t let those cans build up in a dump; allow them to be reused infinitely.
- Start a recycling program. For those of you who may not have a recycling program at home or work, starting one is easier than you think. Just follow these simple steps to start recycling today.
- Find out who currently collects the trash in your area. See if there is an opportunity to partner with them.
- Set up recycling bins around your workplace and in your community. These can be boxes, bins or trailers. Recycling centers are often willing to loan large trailers to serve as a community drop-off. Connect with local businesses and groups to create drop-off locations. The easier you make it for people to recycle, the better!
- Looking for an easy way to give back to the community? Choose your favorite charity and then set up an account at a local recycling center. Anytime people bring in recyclables, the school or organization will get credit and receive the value of the recyclables. Many Habitat for Humanity chapters have done this. In San Luis Valley, in 2012, the chapter was able to raise $4,000 for their building fund just from recycling cans.
- Be sure to educate your audience on the benefits of recycling and how it is supporting your cause. Share your goals with the community and keep them updated on the progress. Start a friendly competition or create a recycling club in your neighborhood. Word of mouth is one of the best ways to get people interested in recycling. Last year in the UK, MetalMatters, a metal packaging recycling campaign funded by Novelis and other metals producers, was able to increase the recycling rate by more than 20 percent.
What other ideas do you have for getting people involved in recycling? Share them in the comments section.