recycling symbol in grass

Saving the planet starts at the home. When you think about it, residential waste makes up the vast majority of all landfills and garbage dumps. Sure, industrial and commercial waste comes in larger quantities per unit, but every single home generates a tiny amount of waste every single day. Multiply that by the BILLIONS of people on the earth, and you’ve got an incredibly large amount of waste being dumped on God’s green earth every day.

While we can’t completely eliminate our waste, recycling is one of the easiest ways to vastly minimize the output. Most homeowners who regularly separate waste and recycles find that the recycling accounts for more refuse than everything else combined. Have you ever wondered why does the trash company pick up my garbage every week but my recycles every other week? That’s how much of our waste COULD BE recycled.

So this post is going to talk about some easy ways that every day Joes and Janes could save the planet (and cut our landfills in half) just by implementing a home recycling program.

How Home Recycling Programs Work

Like most things that can make a big impact, home recycling isn’t all that complicated. What it really takes is dedication to create a process and stick to it. It’s kind of like car maintenance. They say that the single most important think you can do to make your car last is get regular oil changes. But people get busy, life gets in the way, and ignoring that pesky dashboard sticker goes from 200 miles overdue to 2,000! Repeat that every couple months and your car is slowly losing years of engine life. If you just had the dedication to get your oil changed on time, you could probably squeeze an extra 75,000 miles off your vehicle before retiring it.

Well, recycling at home is the same way. Here’s all you need:

  • A garbage service that collects recycling
  • An inside bin to store recycles
  • An outside bin to transfer them to
  • A regular schedule of emptying the inside bin

The last element is key. If you let the inside bin pile up, then guess where all the recycles start going. That’s right, back in the waste bin and eventually back in the landfill.

The best schedule for emptying the inside bin is daily. That way it just becomes part of the routine. If you have a family or roommates, consider assigning everyone a day or two. Pair youngsters with older kids. Just because your toddler can’t lug the entire bin outside doesn’t mean he can’t carry a paper towel roll or empty soda bottle. Instilling the importance of recycling at a young age will help to ensure that we leave the world in good hands for the next generation.

Working With Your Recycling Service

household waste example

Every garbage company and municipality is different. Be sure to check with yours about what they’ll recycle and how they expect it to be packed.

Most services these days include single stream recycling, which means you can put everything in the same bin. Some areas still require you to separate recyclables manually, each type to its own bin. Your garbage company will provide the specifics, but these are common categories of recyclable goods:

  • Paper (newspaper, magazines, cardboard, envelopes, junk mail)
  • Plastic (soda bottles, milk jugs, solo cups)
  • Aluminum (vegetable cans, soda cans, foil)
  • Glass (beer bottles, broken glass)

Save the World, One Soda Can at a Time

Remember, just as we can all destroy the environment with one piece of waste multiplied by billions of people, so can we save it. So if anyone tells you there is nothing you can do to prevent the environmental impact of landfills, you just tell them that you’re doing your part. And they should too.