How to make recycling at home easier

Recycling at home paves way to a cleaner and happier environment.

Recycling is described as turning materials that were going to be disposed of into new products. The process of recycling is good for the environment and can also be a great way for people to earn a living – as seen by high volumes of people in South Africa that push carts full of materials that are to be recycled. If you’re thinking of introducing recycling to your home or finding an easier way to do it, have a look at the following tips to get you started:

1. Know what materials you can and can’t recycle

Unfortunately, not all materials can be recycled. Materials that can be recycled include paper, plastic bottles and jugs, cardboard, aluminum cans and foil, tin cans, and glass (it has to be intact and not broken).

Materials that can’t be recycled include plastic bags, plastic utensils, paper cups and plates, batteries, polystyrene, and bubble wrap.

If you’re unsure if a material can be recycled or not, do some research. By mixing in materials that can’t be recycled, you run the risk of contaminating heaps of materials, which could be potentially sent to a landfill, rendering your efforts useless.

2. Segregate your waste

To make recycling easier, make sure you segregate your waste. Waste segregation is the act of separating waste by materials in order to make recycling easier. It also helps with disposing of waste in a way that is environmentally friendly.

You can colour code your waste by purchasing five small bins for paper, organic, metal, glass and plastic waste.

3. Compost your organic waste

You don’t have to throw away your organic waste. Since organic waste can decompose, you should compost it and use it to fertilise soil. It helps plants grow and is beneficial for soil structure as it adds nutrients, moisture and air.

4. Don’t recycle items that are too small

Items that are too small can’t be recycled. The general rule of thumb is that if an item is smaller than a credit card, it most likely can’t be recycled. Items like can tabs, bottle caps, and small pieces of paper can’t be recycled.

5. Make sure all your items are clean and dry before recycling them

The items you recycle must be clean and dry. This means that soiled items or items that still contain product within them can’t be recycled.

6. Have a strict no-plastic bag rule

Plastic bags get caught in recycling machinery, causing them to shut down. Furthermore, by putting recyclables in plastic bags, it reduces the likelihood of them actually being recycled as most recycling centres are not allowed to open plastic bags. Your recyclables will immediately be considered trash, which will put all your recycling efforts to waste (literally!).

Using the above 6 tips, you can make recycling at home easier for you and your family.