The Do’s And Do Not’s Of Recycling

Hello and welcome to the official rPlanet Earth blog! This blog will be dedicated to helping people make a positive impact on our environment, showing people how to live a green lifestyle, and updating people on how we at rPlanet Earth are making a difference.

In today’s post, we are going to cover what to recycle and what not to recycle. First off, recycle, recycle, recycle! Some people choose not to recycle, but that is environmentally harmful and causes environmental pollution including our land, oceans and air. Recycling doesn’t make your life any more complicated, so please do it!

When it comes time to recycle, many people find themselves confused about what they are allowed to recycle and not to recycle. Each state and city have their own recycling laws and regulations, so I would recommend you do a little more research once you finish this article, but we can advise you on a few of the everyday items to recycle.

The first item is paper. Paper makes up 25% of all solid waste – more than any other material. In 2015, around 67% of all the paper products were recycled and repurposed into new products. When paper is recycled, it saves trees and other valuable natural resources, which is why it is crucial that when you go shopping to look for recycled paper products. In the United States, most communities accept paper recyclables but please double-check before you start recycling it.

The second item are batteries. These are not recycled like paper, but instead need to be recycled in certain stores or collection events sponsored by your local county, city, waste disposal company, or health department. If these were to be thrown in the trash, the toxic metals can damage the environment and take around 100 years to decompose fully.

The third item is glass. Glass is an item that can be recycled over and over again. Whether it be a glass bottle or a glass food container, rinse them out and put them in your recycling bin. These materials can be used to make new glass containers and bottles, meaning the producers utilize fewer natural resources. Again, like paper, check with your local community’s recycling program, but most do accept glass bottles for recycling.

The fourth item is used motor oil. Never dump this oil down the drain because it can contaminate up to 1 million gallons of freshwater. When used oil is recycled, it only takes 1 gallon to produce 2.5 quarts of new motor oil, while it takes 42 gallons of crude oil to make the same amount. Many auto-supply stores that sell motor oil accept your used oil and will recycle it for you.

The fifth and final item are plastics. Plastics make up 13% of solid waste produced in the U.S. and if not recycled can cause different types of environmental challenges. When plastic bags and rings end up in the oceans, marine animals can eat them, get trapped in them, and injure them, which can cause them to die. Annually over 55 million tons of plastics are produced in the United States and about 440 million tons are produced globally, while on average only 9% are recycled. This can and must change.

A common question asked is “are you allowed to recycle water bottles, soda bottles, etc. with the lid or cap on it?” The answer is you can leave the caps and lids on, it is even recommended you do so. Recyclers such as rPlanet Earth collect the material from caps and rings and send it to other recyclers to ensure the plastic material is reused.

When recycling plastic in general, each community has its own guidelines and accept different types of plastics. Again, research this and follow the instructions to help reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in our landfill because plastic takes hundreds of years to decompose. It can vary from anywhere around 400 years to 1000+ years.

After reading this, we hope some of your questions have been answered, you understand the importance of making the effort to recycle and you feel more comfortable recycling in your household and community!