Sometimes it’s a good idea to step back and look at how your recycling habits are working for you. Is everything you can recycle in your home getting to your recycling bins? Are you looking for recyclable products when you shop? Are you reusing everything you can? All of us need a periodic recycling refresher now and again. To help get you started, here are 4 easy ways to refresh how you recycle.

  1. Make recycling easy. Making recycling easy and convenient is a good way to make sure you remember to recycle. Place containers in handy spots to encourage recycling. If doable, put a recycling bin next to every garbage can especially in areas like the bathroom and kitchen where there will be a lot of recyclable materials.

    Just a reminder, if your city has a single stream recycling program, don’t waste time sorting your recyclables because that will be done at the recycling facility.

  2. Be in the know. Know what materials can be recycled in your city’s recycling program. Check in periodically with them to see if any new materials have been added because new markets for additional recyclable materials can become available in your area. You can usually check this through your city’s website or call your provider directly.

    Here’s a quick guide for materials that can be recycled in most recycling programs:

    • Paper – Mail, office paper, school papers, magazines, catalogs and newspapers.
    • Cardboard – Corrugated cardboard, paperboard boxes (cereal, crackers, ect.) and shoe boxes.
    • Plastic – Check with your local provider to see what types of plastics they accept for recycling.
    • Glass – Food and beverage bottles and jars.
    • Metal – Food and beverage cans.
  3. Now that you know what can be recycled, find out where you can recycle those materials. Do you have curbside recycling available or do you bring your recycling to a recycling center? Knowing this information is just as important as knowing what can be recycled. Also, check for places to recycle materials that can’t go in your recycling bin. For example, many local retail stores have recycling bins located at the front of the stores for materials like plastic bags and electronics.

  4. Buy products that can be recycled. Be thoughtful about the products you buy and the packaging the product is housed in. Also, look for products that contain recycled materials. The more consumer demand there is for these kinds of products, the more need there will be for manufacturers to use them.

Bonus Tips:

  • Buy items in bulk to avoid unnecessary packaging.
  • Visit your local farmer’s market to find fresh, local produce without all the packaging.
  • Avoid buying disposable items especially plastic and Styrofoam.
  • Look for quality items that don’t need to be replaced as often.

The fact is that when you make recycling a habit it becomes second nature. Check out our handy recycling center locator to help you find where to drop off your recyclables. Just put in your zip code and it will show you all the locations near you.