7 Tips To Break Free From Laziness and Start Recycling
People like to recycle, but don't. It's not that we don't care about the environment, or think recycling is a terrible idea, it's that we're lazy. A prime example of this would be the college I attended. During my sophomore year, there was an effort put on by our Student Government to start a recycling program. It took a while, but they eventually created a recycling intern position for Student Government. This person was in charge of the recycling program, which consisted of a team of volunteers from the different dorms. By Junior year, it seemed to be running smoothly, but it didn't last much longer. Senior year, I noticed that the recycling bins were no longer in the dorm lounges, and when I asked my friend (who was on the Student Government) he said it was because they couldn't get enough volunteers. They needed people who were willing to take the bins to the dumpster and make sure everything was correctly sorted. Without the volunteers, nothing could be done.
The sad thing about all of this was that the student body was very quick to start blaming the sudden disappearance of the recycling program on the Student Government, saying they weren't trying hard enough. However, it was actually the student body's fault. They wanted a recycling program, but not the work that came with it, and let's get that clear right now, it does take work. There isn't some super easy, simple, and carefree way of recycling. If you want to do it, you have to mean it and actually work at it. Sure, there are some things that will make it easier, but we have to throw away this misconception that recycling has to be a breeze before we'll start doing it.
So, here our some tips I've come across that should help you get started down the recycling road.
1. Getting Started:
You need to find out what you're town offers as far as recycling. There are some towns that offer curbside pick up. Some offer it as part of your garbage pick up, while others offer it for an additional charge. If your city doesn't provide pick up, there should be a location where you can drop it off. Waste Management has a page on their site where you can find out about their services, where they're offered, and what they recycle.
2. Get Knowledgeable:
Learn what can and can't be recycled, and ways that you can limit your usage of items that are recyclable; things like paper products, plastic, and cans. Here's a great table with a breakdown of these three things. It's also important to learn the reasons behind recycling; why you should do participate in the first place.
3. Start Small:
Start by recycling a few specific things at a time. Find a recyclable item that you go through in your home more than anything else and start with that. For example, if you buy a lot of bottled water, make plastic your first recycling objective. Once you've tackled that, you can start adding more items.
4. Marked Bins:
Have bins in your home that are marked for each different item you are recycling. Have a bin for plastic, cardboard, metal, whatever it may be. Turn one of your cupboards into a slide out that you can put two or more trash cans in, and use that for your recycling. You could also have trash cans or large bins set up in your garage with signs above them for different recycling. This site has some other ideas for creating recycling containers.
Sometimes it's good to read some statistics on recycling to help get you motivated.
- The amount of paper and wood we waste each year is enough to heat 50,000,000 homes for 20 years.
- Americans throw away 25,000,000 plastic bottles every hour.
- America wasted about 33.79 million tons of food in 2010, which is enough to fill the Empire State building 91 times.
This blog's post is a great motivator for why you should cut back on certain items that are harmful to the environment.
Another great way to recycle is by reusing items for other projects, crafts, or decoration. This site has some great DIY ideas for aluminum cans. You can find great ideas for using recycled items in your home to organize. You can also make some creative art using paper towel and toilet paper tubes.
7. Get Your Kids Involved:
Having your children start at a young age is a good idea. It's easier to get them excited about it when they're younger, and it will get them used to doing it right off the bat. Teach them ways to reuse paper or cardboard for their crafts; let them assist in the breaking down of certain recyclable items (they'd probably enjoy it.) You could also organize a local recycling club where the kids can donate unused clothes, shoes, or toys to donate.