Let’s play a game — a recycling game. This game is in honor of America Recycles Day to get us all in the correct mindset to do our part of environmental stewardship. Wherever you are, however you’re reading this, stop and take a look around. Are you at home, or at your place of work? Are you in a coffee shop? It doesn’t matter the setting; just take a few seconds to scope out your surroundings and take a mental note of everything that can be recycled, reused or even upcycled. The goal here is to ponder how many things in your immediate area can be disposed of, or given a next “life” without having to hit the landfill. Odds are the percentage of items nearby that qualify for this little test is probably at or very near 100%. Are you surprised, or maybe even skeptical? I’ll play, too. As I’m writing, I’m in a typical computer-in-a-cubicle setup. Looking around, I see a computer, which includes the screen, mouse, keyboard and attachments. These are all very much recyclable, as the components are predominantly made of plastics and metals. E-waste recyclers are popping up around the country and can be found easily with our recycling location finder. Next, I see a desk phone, plastic filing trays, a metal desk shelf, wire mesh office supply holders and various office knickknacks like paper clips, a hole puncher and all sorts of papers. Guess what? Those can all be recycled as well, either through traditional means of sorting metals into a metals bins and plastics into another, or simply by taking quality items to a local charity as a donation. Of note, plastics numbers 1 to 7 are those that can typically be recycled easiest. One last turn and I see a few reusable drink containers. Like the other products, these fall into two categories: metal or plastic. The same rule applies here: Either sort by material type for recycling or add to the donation box. Notably absent are plastic bottles that soda and water come in. Those too can be recycled, of course, but I align with the camp that attempts not to use them at all. By no means is the above list extensive. Obviously, I’m leaving out very commonplace items that can be recycled like newspapers, bottles and cans, clothing, etc. But, hopefully, this little exercise can train your eye to look at all objects with a thought toward their end of life. In fact, after looking my workspace, I have found only two products that I’m not entirely positive can be recycled: rubber bands and binders. Feel free to offer advice in the comments section on how to recycle such problematic objects. The message of this post is straightforward: No matter where you are and what you buy, use and inevitably dispose of, odds are that these products are recyclable. Recycling has evolved over the years to accept most everything. It is has also developed into a globally accepted practice, which is perfect, seeing as how the result of recycling is to create a cleaner, greener world. So, this month, be sure to browse your surroundings with a green lens and see how you can reduce the need for landfills by recycling as much as possible. Remember: Be sure to check out the official America Recycles Day website to learn more and find recycling events in your area.
Look Around: A Reminder to Recycle This America Recycles Day
We’re surrounded by recyclables everywhere we turn — just keep your eyes peeled.