Over the past decades, we’ve come a long way as a country when it comes to contributing to the environmental benefits of waste recycling. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. residential recycling has increased from less than 7% of households in 1960 to 32.4% as it stands today. While that progress is inspiring, it’s evident there’s still room for improvement.
If more households became serious about how to recycle at home, we could vastly improve upon current encouraging reports that indicate how recycling accounts for 681,000 jobs in the U.S., as well as an extra $37.8 billion in wages. There’s never been a more accessible and opportune time for residential recycling than now, and it doesn’t have to end at remembering to take the recycling bin out to the curb every week.
If you’re interested in making recycling a more fun and engaging source of sustainability in your household, check out these creative ways you can recycle at home.
The overall recycling rate for plastic bottles in the U.S. is below 30%, meaning billions of pounds of plastic bottles are not recycled or reused every year. From bottled water to liters of soda to milk cartons, plastic bottles are common sights in most households and can provide a formal purpose long after their contents have expired.
You can utilize empty plastic bottles in any of the following ways:
● Writing utensils and art supply containers
● Bird feeders
● Planting pot
● Ornament or decoration
● Piggy bank or coin collection receptacle
● Water sprinkler
The potential for transforming plastic bottles into something useful around the house is only limited by your creativity. Even if you can’t come up with any creative ways to recycle your plastic bottles, the least you can do is properly recycle them so they don’t contribute to pollution or landfill overflow.
The overall U.S. recycling rate for glass bottles and containers was 31.3% in 2018. This means that more than two-thirds of our country isn’t properly recycling glass packaging, which ultimately contributes to an estimated 7.6 million tons of recyclable glass that winds up at landfills.
Instead of letting glass containers and bottles go to waste, these recyclable items are ideal for anyone with an eye for art or creativity to modify into something constructive and marvelous. For starters, glass bottles can easily be recycled into household cleaning or sanitary containers, such as hand soap dispensers or disinfectant spray bottles. Their transparency also makes them ideal for creating a lamp or illuminary device.
You can also consider turning glass bottles into a container that can be utilized for food or supplies storage.
While paper-based products such as cardboard boxes are generally the most well recycled and reused of common household items, failing to recycle cardboard can have severe environmental consequences. In fact, recycling all cardboard materials you use can potentially reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 850 pounds a year, and for every one ton of cardboard that’s recycled, we save up to 9 cubic yards in landfill space.
One of the easiest ways to reuse cardboard materials is by utilizing them for storage or shipping purposes, ideal for any upcoming move or trip to the post office. Cardboard boxes are also great for any pet owners, as they can be constructed into a bedding environment, cat tower, or maze labyrinths for any smaller, fit-in-hand pets.
From a paint palette to beverage coasters, there are so many recyclable ways to utilize cardboard other than merely throwing them away!
The amount of impact non-recycled styrofoam can have upon the environment is significant and devastating. Because styrofoam doesn’t break down or erode over time, experts estimate that the length for styrofoam to adequately decompose exceeds over 500 years. Every day, thousands of tons of styrofoam are buried into landfills, equating to around 30% of total landfill volume around the world.
To reduce our contributions to landfills, we can recycle styrofoam in a variety of creative ways around the house. For starters, they can always be reused as packing peanuts for mailing and shipping purposes, as well as moving any fragile or valuable items. Gardners can consider using styrofoam as plant pot fillers, and styrofoam cups are ideal for supply organization, sound amplifiers, seedling starter kits, or even mini lanterns.
Recycle More With LJP Waste Solutions
Even if all the arts and crafts aren’t necessarily your thing, the least you can do at home is practice sufficient recycling solutions. LJP Waste Solutions offers top quality residential recycling services for southern Minnesota residents, providing people with sustainable waste disposal assistance so we can continue to protect our planet from the perils of pollution.
If you’re interested in learning how to enhance your recycling contribution, contact us online today to learn more about how we can give your waste a second life, or give us a call at 507-625-1968 to speak to one of our waste solutions experts.