The recycling symbol was created almost four decades ago by Gary Anderson, a young graphic designer from the University of Southern California. His design, based on the Mobius strip, is now universally recognized as a symbol for recycling.
Recycling often makes people think of blue plastic bins and bottle drives, which is partly due to companies using recycling as a way to avoid responsibility for the packaging they produce. However, recycling is much more than that. It’s a design principle, a natural law, a source of creativity, and a source of prosperity. For anyone wanting to make recycling a bigger part of their life, this guide provides an overview of the basics as well as some of the more advanced concepts that have come up in recent years.
This means that recycling a ton of waste has twice the economic impact of burying it in the ground. Additionally, recycling one more ton of waste will result in $101 more in salaries and wages, produce $275 more in goods and services, and generate $135 more in sales than disposing of it in a landfill.
Top Recycling Tips
The following text provides information on the benefits of recycling and how to make recycling more efficient.
The Basics: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Most of us are only familiar with the last part of the phrase “reduce, reuse, recycle.” However, there are several steps we should take before recycling.Useful things can be made from waste materials. If something is broken, try to fix it instead of replacing it. If you can, return it to the producer (especially electronics).The garbage can should not be your last resort. You can reduce the amount of waste you produce by following these three principles.You can reduce or eliminate your need for disposable plastic bottles by using a water filter and reusable container.
Know What Can and Can’t Be Recycled
Make sure you are recycling correctly by reading up on the recycling rules for your area. Recycling can be more complicated than you think. For example, some companies have what is known as “green-washed recycling.” This means that the company makes it seem like they are recycling when they are actually not. A good way to avoid supporting these companies is to be informed about what recycling actually is.
Buy Recycled Products
The most important part of recycling is making sure that materials are reused as much as possible so that new materials don’t have to be extracted. This means recycling items as well as using products that are made from recycled materials. You can now find recycled content in many common office items, such as printer paper and chairs. Just be sure to know the difference between something that can be recycled and something that is made from recycled materials.
Inspire an Artist
If you know someone who is interested in making art from recycled materials, you can offer to provide them with supplies. Many school children need items such as paper towel tubes for art projects, and older artists use everything from rubber bands to oven doors. If you know someone who teaches art classes, you could suggest that they put an emphasis on making art from trash. While you’re doing that, you can remind them to use recycled paper and biodegradable, earth-friendly glues, paints, and pencils whenever possible. You can also get creative and re-purpose your recycled materials!
Compost Your Food Scraps
In “Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things,” William McDonough and Michael Braungart divide so-called “waste” into two categories: technical nutrients and biological nutrients. Biological nutrients are those that, at the end of their useful life, can safely and readily decompose and return to the soil. Composting is one of the simplest and most effective recycling methods for these kinds of nutrients.
Consider Recycling Potential When Purchasing
When purchasing goods, in addition to buying recycled goods, look for goods that can be recycled. Whenever you purchase something that comes in packaging, think about how you can reuse the packaging, return it to a shipping store for reuse, or recycle it. If you are getting something that is likely to run down or wear out over time, such as an electronic component, try to get the model that can be easily upgraded or cannibalized for parts. Products that are permanently fused together are called “monstrous hybrids” and are, while often cheaper up front, frequently unfixable and not able to be recycled.
Analyze Your Waste Trends
An audit of the materials that are wasted over a period of time, such as a week or a month, can help you to understand what enters and leaves your home, office, or school. By separating the waste into categories and weighing the different types of materials, you can develop a plan to reduce the amount of waste going to the landfill. This is a great activity to do with children, but it can also be very convincing to corporate leaders, since most companies have to pay to have their trash removed and can get money for recycling paper, containers, toner cartridges, corrugated cardboard, and other materials.
10 Recycled Gardening Ideas
Some people see trash as something that can be used to benefit the environment and their home. These ideas for recycled gardening do just that. By using items that would normally be thrown away, you can create a one-of-a-kind garden that will stand out from the rest. Not to mention, you’ll be helping the environment by recycling instead of throwing things away.
In 2018, about 146.1 trillion tons of waste were dumped in landfills in the United States. This is enough to fill over 40,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Using recycled materials in your garden might seem like a small step, but it can make a big impact on our personal environmental footprints. You never know—you might inspire your neighbors to recycle more, too.
Repurposed seedling containers
Instead of buying new plastic containers to start your seedlings, reuse the old ones. You’ll find a few options for recycled seedling containers in your kitchen and bathroom.
Things you can use as seedling containers:
- Paper cups: Poke a small hole for drainage. If you don’t have any laying around, check with your local coffee shop for discarded ones.
- Eggs and egg cartons: Plant the seedlings in empty eggshells and keep them organized in the carton.
- Plastic cookie or cupcake container: Not only is the shape of these clamshell containers perfect for starting seeds, the lid creates a humid environment to help them grow.
- Toilet paper rolls: Cut and fold one end to form a bottom, and you’ve got a great pot for seedlings. Because the roll is biodegradable, you can put the whole thing in the ground instead of disturbing the sprouting plant.
Water bottle as a mini greenhouse
The average person does not have a greenhouse in their backyard, which can be expensive to build. However, most people do have plastic water bottles, which can be turned into mini greenhouses.
You can create a summer environment for your tropical plants in any season by taking a large water bottle or water cooler jug, cutting the bottom off so it fits over the top of the plant, and leaving the cap off so the plant can get enough fresh air.
Paint can turned birdhouse
Do you want to bring more birds to your garden? A great way to do this is by providing them with food. You can make a bird feeder from an empty can of paint to save money.
Be sure to clean the can thoroughly at least once a week and any time the seed gets wet.
If you want to attract birds to your yard, try using bright colors like red, orange, and blue.
Reused items turned planters
There are many ways to recycle items in your home into plant pots, instead of just buying a terra cotta pot from the garden store.
Passed down planter ideas:
- Don’t throw away your sinks and bathtubs after the renovation! You can fill them up with soil and sprawling plants for a show-stopping centerpiece.
- Old colanders also work well as planters, especially for plants that need plenty of drainage.
- Tires used as planters create a rustic touch for your yard.
- Kick new plastic pots to the curb — literally — by using boots as planters.
If your object doesn’t have drainage holes, you can drill some, or use plants that don’t mind being in wet soil.
Old furniture as garden features
Instead of getting rid of old furniture, you can use it to make a charming garden space. It may get damaged from being outside, but you can protect it by putting a coat of polyurethane on it.
To create a dresser garden, drill holes in the bottom of every other shelf and fill with soil. Choose plants that will thrive in the given environment.
A vanity or desk can serve as a perfect potting station. Fill the drawers with garden tools and pots, and bags of soil can go in the place of the chair.
Glass bottle edger
Instead of throwing away your old wine bottles, you can use them to edge your garden. Turn them upside down and bury them neck-deep in the ground, with the bottoms of the bottles forming the boundary of your garden bed.
Garden hose wreath
Make someone’s day by giving them a homemade garden wreath! It’s a great present for the gardener in your life, or you can keep it for yourself and enjoy the look of it in your garden.
If you have an old hose and a twist tie lying around, you can make a decoration for your shed door. Tie the hose in a bow and add some flowers or gloves for a colorful, springtime look.
Broken eggshells for compost or nests
Eggshells can be used as a fertilizer for your garden as they are rich in calcium, which helps plants build cell walls.
Help your local ecosystem thrive by leaving out eggshells for birds to use for nesting. Sanitize the shells by baking them for 20 minutes at 250 degrees (or use shells from hard-boiled eggs), and then break them into dime-sized (or smaller) pieces. Leave them in a tray outside for your feathered friends.
A gutter garden is a type of garden that uses vertical space and can be used to conceal an unattractive fence or area of siding. You can also use old gutters to create a gutter garden. To do this, you need to drill a few drainage holes into the bottom of the gutters and then attach them to the wall. You can stagger them or stack them parallel like a bookshelf.
Wine cork garden markers
If you have a lot of wine corks after a girls’ night, don’t throw them away. You can use them as garden markers.
To make plant markers: 1. Write the names of your plants on corks. 2. Push bamboo skewers or plant stakes into the bottom of the corks. 3. To protect your markers from the elements, finish them with a polyurethane seal or a coat of clear nail polish. 4. Once dry, stick the markers in your vegetable garden.