Written by: Joey Kadish

After tackling the egregious usage of energy in my home, I decided it was time to jump the next hurdle: recycling. Throughout my entire life, my family has made a consistent effort to recycle what we knew we could; plastic bottles, tin cans and newspapers all made their way into the green bin each week, giving us peace of mind that we were doing right by mother earth. But how much more could (and should) we be doing? Here are some basic ways to improve your home’s recycling habits.

ALSO READ: A young man’s quest towards a greener household, part 1

Recycling by Numbers

Plastics are numbered based on what type they are and even how toxic they can be. In my house, like many others, anything not labeled #1 or #2, (water and soda bottles, milk jugs, household cleaners, etc.,) ends up in the trash. This is because most curbside pickup programs don’t accept plastics numbered 3-7. These plastics are harder to recycle, thus cannot be mixed with the more common ones. But no need to toss them away! I did some research and found some recycling centers in my community that accept these plastics and even hazardous household waste. A quick search can locate one in your area too.

Bag It

PlasticBagPlastic bags are arguably one of the most wasteful things on the planet. But sometimes, coming home with a plastic bag or two is inevitable, even if you do use eco-friendly shopping bags. Up until recently, my family has tossed them; now, in lieu of throwing them away, we hoard them, saving them for other purposes. There are plenty of ways to get maximum use out of a plastic bag until it’s truly worthless. Still can’t find any? Most grocery stores provide plastic bag drop-offs or they can be donated to a nearby animal shelter.

Inspector Gadget

In today’s world, technology is constantly outdating itself. So when a new gadget is released to the masses, what do you do with the now obsolete version that came before? Despite what some may think, tossing them in the trash can isn’t viable option. Electronics can be extremely hazardous when thrown away: toxic materials can seep into the earth and water supplies when in a landfill. If they are incinerated, the ashes can spread, causing dangerous effects to our food chain. Instead, drop off your forgotten gadgets at a local collection service, sell them to companies like Gazelle, or send them to TerraCycle for cash for charity!

Trash to Treasure

Aside from old gadgets, we here at TerraCycle accept over 40 different kinds of waste that you never thought was possible to recycle. We collect everything from drink pouches to potato chip bags to candy bar wrappers and turn them into eco-friendly items like flowerpots, park benches and even playgrounds. Check out and sign up for our Brigade programs and start collecting the items you would otherwise discard in the trash.

ALSO READ: A young man’s quest to a greener household, part 2

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