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Recycling Basics

Start recycling at home and reduce the waste going to landfill

Recycling Basics


Everyone should recycle as much of their waste as possible to prevent reusable materials being buried in land fill waste sites. Recycling does not cost anything, takes only a little extra time, and can make an amazing difference to the world.
In many regions recyling boxes are not provided which people can use to collect recyclable materials for collection at the same time as their domestic waste. Where that is not the case recycling banks are always close by and waiting for your waste. Simply keep a couple of plastic boxes next to your waste bin and decide if whatever you plan on throwing away can be recycled. If it can, put it in the right box.

Below is a schematic of how the paper recyling process works from the Confederation of Paper Industries:

The Paper Recycling Process

Start off by looking at the materials you are currently throwing away:

Organic matter and garden waste should be going on your compost heap, or at least be saved for a gardener in your family or group of friends.

Paper and cardboard make up the majority of domestic waste and can, in the most part, be recycled. Most supermarkets have recycling stations where old newspapers and cardboard boxes can be deposited for recycling so just drop them off before you go shopping. According to Friends of the Earth, one million tonnes of newspapers alone are thrown away each year in the UK! Paper is biodegradable and very easy to recycle and so the used of recyled paper saves on the costs (economic and environmental) of cutting down trees, and also the costs of importing and transporting.

Glass bottles and jars can be saved for a similar fate. Simply rinse them out and store them ready to drop off at the recycling station. Kids love hearing the sound of smashing glass so get them involved too!

Most plastic bottles and packaging can be recycled. They need to be sorted, but usually all plastics can be put into a plastic recycling bank and the complex sorting process if done for you.

Finally tin cans and aluminium drinks cans can be rinsed, squashed, and saved for recyling at your recycling bank.

That pretty much covers everything we throw away each week. Books, clothes and anything else of value should be given to charity shops where they can make money for their causes at the same time as giving someone else the chance to reuse your things, or sell them on eBay to make yourself money. (Reuse is always better than recycling since no energy is wasted in processing.)

Old computers, batteries, televisions, washing machines etc contain many recyclable items and often materials which are harmful to the environment. These should be taken to your local council tip for correct processing or to a recycler.

Article Published: 09:04, 19th Apr 2006

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