kitchen.jpg The kitchen is one of the most used-rooms of the home. Whether you love to cook or you enjoy hosting big dinners, this space is likely one of the busiest areas of your humble abode. That being said, the potential for large amounts of waste is a reality in the kitchen. As you cook and prepare meals throughout the day, many items are used – and some require disposal. Are you guilty of throwing away materials that could be recycled? Here are 10 items that commonly end up in the trash (when they could be in a recycling bin). 1. Aluminum cans If your family drinks a lot of soda, there’s a good chance that you have an ample amount of cans lying around the kitchen. Instead of throwing them away with the garbage, why not recycle them? Many towns and cities have curbside recycling programs for cans or drop-off locations. In some states, you may also be able to recycle your cans for a refund. Who knew you could receive money for recycling and helping the environment? 2. Glass bottles In addition to cans, glass bottles frequently go to waste in the kitchen. However, you can change this by integrating them into your recycling routine. Most curbside recycling programs also accept glass, alongside aluminum cans, for reuse. Recycled glass can eventually be transformed into new glass products, such as jars and bottles. 3. Grocery bags When you get home from the supermarket, you likely unpack and discard all of the bags that come with your belongings. However, these items can be easily recycled and reused, rather than being tossed into your kitchen’s trash bin. Consider using the plastic or paper bags as trash can liners throughout your home. Check with your grocery store to see if they take back plastic bags – more retailers are now reclaiming plastic to recycle themselves. This can help you make sure that the plastic doesn’t end up in another local landfill. 4. Cardboard boxes Once you’re finished with a box of cereal or oatmeal, your instinct may be to discard the packaging. However, cardboard boxes can be salvaged and used for other purposes around your house. Think about using the cardboard for kids’ crafts or school projects. Check the box tops to see if they qualify for beneficial education programs. If you’re looking for new storage, a box may be the perfect solution. 5. Cereal box liners The plastic bags that hold the food inside of boxes could be valuable if you know how to use them. These plastic liners can be utilized for baking and storing frozen food. If you don’t want to necessarily reuse it in your kitchen, see if your curbside recycling program will accept them. These liners are often made from #2 plastics, which are recyclable. 6. Bread Bread is one of the most common kitchen foods, and once the expiration date passes, you may be inclined to immediately throw it away. However, there are several ways you can make sure this item doesn’t go to waste. Reuse your bread by making breadcrumbs or croutons, which are even better when the food is a bit stale. Of course, you should always be mindful of the quality of product before you choose to reuse it. If you spot mold or smell an unusual odor, steer clear of the bread altogether. 7. Aluminum foil You might think that you can only get one use out of a piece of aluminum foil, but the fact of the matter is this material is highly reusable. Instead of tossing it in the trash after one use, think about ways you can put it into action again — perhaps you’ll use it to cover up a plate of leftovers. When it comes to throwing it away, make it a point to place it in your recycling bin outside. Many curbside recycling programs accept aluminum foil, just as they accept aluminum cans. 8. Used appliances As they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. This principle can apply to your kitchen appliances, whether you have a toaster or a microwave that you no longer use. Instead of taking it out with the garbage, see if you can sell it. Someone may have a need for the old device in your community. In the event that the appliance is broken, contact your local waste management company to learn about your recycling options. These professionals can also let you know if you need to discard of items in a specialized way to avoid the release of toxic materials. 9. Tossed food Instead of letting your leftover food go to waste, why not compost it? Composting is an efficient way to make beneficial fertilizer for your plants. There are several ways you can begin composting, and your food waste is the perfect place to start. Taking up this habit can reduce your household waste by approximately 30 percent. 10. Milk cartons If you still buy milk cartons, you may not know these items can be recycled once the beverage is gone. Just like the old milk bottles we used to have, cartons can be picked up by a curbside recycling program and kept from a landfill. Over the last three years, carton recycling has increased in the U.S. by approximately 128 percent. As you look to reduce your carbon footprint, it might be worth beginning in your kitchen. Paper, plastic and aluminum are all frequently used in this area of the home. By keeping recycling at the front of your mind, you can ensure that your local waste management community properly handles these items. If you are unsure of which items can be recycled, visit the website for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for tips or search here. In the future, you may also want to invest in more green products, such as reusable bags and energy-efficient appliances. This can help you save money while benefiting the planet as a whole.