Many people know about the economic benefits of recycling. In these times, it’s always good to save some money. While it’s true that you will not save a lot of money by recycling used materials like aluminum cans or glass bottles, it’s great to cultivate a recycling culture in the home because it brings long-term benefits. For instance, you can keep recycled cardboard boxes for occasions when you need to ship things to relatives and friends. For the society at large, recycling creates long term investment value at low upfront cost. To encourage people to recycle, the government and independent organizations have introduced various programs. Besides organizing your garbage and recycling glass, metals or paper, there are many ways to contribute to the cause. Let’s take a look at the different ways you can contribute to recycling.
Traditional Methods of Recycling
Recycle Aluminum and Other Metals: The benefit in cost per can in terms of savings is so low that it’s quite insignificant. On another level, the savings in terms of energy required in making a new can from scratch as compared to making it from an existing can is tremendous. The cost of aluminum would be high if people did not recycle it. Metals like copper, iron, and steel can also be recycled. Scrap bits of metal can be brought to a scrap dealer who will pay cash for the metal. Automobile manufacturers get good money for scrap metal too.
Recycle Paper: The amount of energy reduced by reusing paper rather than manufacturing it from scratch is nearly sixty percent. The cost of manufacturing is also reduced. Newspapers, magazines, and office paper are some of the materials that can be recycled. In the long run, the cost of paper will be less and there will be no shortage of paper.
Recycle Plastics: Pop bottles, milks cans, and broken plastic items are some of the plastics that can be recycled. The amount of energy which can be saved by using recycled plastics instead of raw materials in the production of goods is nearly seventy percent. As such there is no immediate cash return for recycling plastics except to reduce manufacturing costs and maintaining them. The oil used to manufacture an item from raw materials rather than recycled material is also more. If more oil is used, the price of plastic will be higher, which also affects the price of oil.
- Fact Sheet of Recycling Plastics
- Information on Recycling Plastic Materials
- 4 Steps in Plastics Recycling
Recycle Glass: Recycling glass requires a little more effort as the glass needs to be sorted out based on the color i.e. brown or green or clear glass. This sorting of glass needs to be done manually and manufacturers are particular about the dealer from whom they purchase used glass. The energy conserved by recycling glass is thirty percent. Bottles form the major part of glass to be recycled.
Getting Creative with Recycling
Recycle Clothes: Everybody has clothes lying in the cupboard which have not been used for some time. Sort out your closet and bring out the clothes that you haven’t used in a year. Separate the nice clothes from old ones that you wish to donate. You can get creative with the new clothes and design a completely new dress. Alternatively, you can also make accessories like bags, rugs, wallets, and so on. Your old jeans can be used to make placemats or even dust and dirt rags.
Freecycle: Join the group Freecycle and post items that you do not use. Other members in the group who live in the vicinity may find some use for it. Many people throw away a lot of things that they don’t use anymore, though they may be in great condition. The group helps people to find others who have a need for certain items.
Make Art: Creating art out of garbage is an interesting idea and some artists are getting creative with garbage. You can create bicycles, toys or an abstract sculpture from your metal cans or foils. Ensure that you clean the objects completely before starting on anything.
Reusing Compact Discs: People normally throw away the compact discs that are completely scratched or damaged. Though they may appear useless, there’s actually a good use for them. The compact disc makes a good reflector and it can be attached to the kid’s bike or other objects where you may need some reflection. Can you find more creative uses for these compact discs?
Reusing Paper: There are usually some unused old papers lying around the house. The next time you want to wrap a gift, you can make a collage with all these papers to create a new and innovative wrapping paper. This way, you can save some time and money. It can be magazine papers, travel brochures, maps, envelopes or just about anything else.
Compost: It’s not just paper, glass or plastics that can be recycled. Even old food can be recycled! You can create your own compost for the garden. It’s a very simple process, which does not require much effort. Collect items like egg shells, fruit and vegetable peels, coffee grounds, and other kitchen wastes in a separate container. This does not include dairy or meat products.
Mosaics: Do you like mosaics? If you have accidentally broken a vase or ceramic bowl, you can use the broken pieces to create your own unique mosaic. It’s always worthwhile to create your own stuff. Use the mosaics to create your own photo frames or use them around the mirror or coffee table.
- The Importance of Recycling
- Save Money by Recycling (PDF)
- What to Recycle
- Recycling Centers by Zipcode
- 3Rs for Kids
- Recycling Stats & Info for Metals
- Creative Recycling Scheme (PDF)
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