Recycling is important to our environment. Millions of pounds of material are recycled every year. This is an outstanding number – on the bad side. It should be billions of pounds. Outside of the typical plastic, paper, and glass we can recycle, we can recycle many more things that are around our homes and work spaces. We have to think outside the box as far as that is concerned. Recycled items are far more than just plastic bottles and newspapers. Other recyclable items are found not even a few feet from us.
- Printer Cartridges – Everything from the plastic to the residual ink residue can be recycled. Not many people are aware of it but printer cartridges have ink dust when they expire. Ink dust mixed with anything is a dangerous ordeal. The dust has been known to cause choking. It is also very toxic. It also causes a reversal in growth and causes organic life to fight for air. Many printer cartridges can be refilled providing cost effective solutions for the user.
- Motor Oil – Ever wondered what your mechanic does after you get your oil change? Not many people wonder anymore. They just take it for granted that they do something with it. Most mechanics don’t recycle their oil, but it is necessary. They contain metals and toxic waste as a result of use. If left in the open environment problems from clogging drains can happen, death to animals and biological life, and will cause destruction to rivers and oceans.
- Batteries – Many people do not recycle these. It’s easy to just throw them into the trash and call it good. Batteries contain high levels of nickel and cadmium, both not only toxic but nuclear in some respects. If you have the opportunity to buy rechargeable batteries, buy them. The charge time is fast and it maintains a good cycle.
- Cooking Oil (By Extension Meat Oils) – If you own a restaurant or use the deep fryer several times, this is easy. You know how bad it smells after awhile. Cooking oils don’t develop or form any hazardous materials but they still cause a mess for local habitats.
These items plus more can be recycled at local recycling shelters. Make sure that recycling is on the forefront of your mind. It will help the environment tremendously. We may not be able to see the effects immediately but our future generations will.
Depending on the battery, there are different processes that take place. For the majority of lead or acid-based batteries, the battery is broken apart in a hammer mill. The pieces are then filtered into a vat where the dangerous materials are essentially discarded. The battery pieces that remain are scooped away and the liquids are sent away to recycling streams which are deemed safe.
Some batteries, particularly with mercury in them are carefully recycled in a temperature controlled process. This process is so very important because overheating of mercury and acid can cause explosions and can cause other bodily harm by breathing in the toxins.
Recycling plastics and paper is a common occurrence but people often forget about the importance of battery recycling. Recycling a battery is crucial for the health of the environment. It is far better to take it to professionals who are experienced in handling battery recycling than handling the recycling yourself. You can take it to battery stores or your local recycling store for help on recycling batteries properly.
Next time you have a number of batteries at the home that are not rechargeable, recycle them. The negative effects of battery acids as they infiltrate the environment will be known for years to come. It is nearly impossible to predict how many batteries are simply thrown away in the trash each year, but it should not and never should it ever be so high.
Recycling takes on different processes for different items, but one item that has to be handled carefully and cautiously are batteries. Throwing them away is a bad idea. The toxicity and acidity within a battery (even if it is dead) can cause severe amounts of damage to the environment. At the state and federal level, battery recycling is being preached, but exactly how do you properly recycle them. The simplest answer to that is, we don’t. Allowing the professionals to handle the battery recycling process is much safer and professional plants remain in compliance to the environmental laws that are around. They follow key steps to ensure that it is safe and sound by way of recycling.
It doesn’t matter if it is a wet cell or dry cell battery. You have one, or both, types in your home or office. Other types of batteries that can be recycled are plastic, lead, sulfuric acid, lithium ion, nickel-cadmium, alkaline, and zinc. All of these batteries possess harmful toxins that when exposed to the body, can be dangerous.
Take it outside!
Some of the most overlooked recyclables are all of the things that should go in your compost pile. Food from your kitchen, as long as it is not full of chemicals, is great for recycling either through your dog or into the compost pile. Yard debris are best composted as opposed to burning. The ground needs the nutrients more than the atmosphere needs the carcinogens. Most livestock feces are good for composting as well. Avoid human, dog, and cat waste as they contain too many chemicals to safely grow plants from the soil that will be used. Dead animals can be composted as well as chemical free paper. One compost pile is incredibly beneficial to the environment as well, due to the growth of mushrooms and the release of gas that is beneficial to plants around it. Not only are you recycling, but you are helping the local plants make more oxygen for us all=).
In conclusion, take the time to educate yourself on what you can do to protect the environment for the coming generations. The resources we have are exhaustible, so it is only right that we try to preserve and use them for as long as possible and recycling is the key to making that happen.
It is hard to find a person today who would argue the fact that recycling is an important part of daily life. But, the scope and depth of knowledge when it comes to recyclable materials can be lacking even in a motivated, active environmentalist. Almost everyday, if not several times a day, you will come across something that can be easily recycled. Some of these items are worth quite a bit of money giving us even more incentive to do the right thing.
Getting off to a good start.
There are many preventative methods that allow us to protect the environment while cutting down on the amount of energy spent on recycling. Even if it costs extra, search for containers made of highly recycled product. Look for smaller packing on items and reuse them as often as possible. Take your own canvas bags to the grocery store or library. Buy high quality material that will hopefully last your lifetime.
While it isn’t always possible, these are good ways to start. Should you be forced to an alternative, be aware of what is recyclable and what is not. Try to find items that are easily recyclable and cost-efficient to do so. Following is an extensive but by no means complete list of things to keep an eye out for.
- Plastics are one of the most well know recyclable materials. There are quite a few deferent types of plastics based on their resin content and this will be noted by a number embossed or printed on the package, usually near to or on the bottom. In home, plastic containers for soda, milk and juice, water, pasta, and the like are great for recycling and it is no problem to find a service to take care of them. Conversely, yogurt and cottage cheese containers, butter tubs and those like them are made typically of #5 plastic. This is difficult to recycle and should be avoided by the consumer. Plastic bags of any kind are great as reusable items and should last for a long time. These should rarely go into the trash unless being used as the trash bag itself. If you do find yourself with an overabundance, most grocery stores have a bag-recycling program that will be more than happy to help you out.
- Beverage bottles are usually good for recycling. Glass bottles can be worth a good bit of money depending on which state you live in. Regardless, there are always processing centers that will accept clear and mix colored glass. Though, the former is worth quite a bit more. Aluminum cans are also readily sold to recyclers for a good price. This fluctuates by season so it may be best to hold your collection for a while. The beverage containers to be avoided at the market are “Aseptics” such as drink boxes, soymilk containers, and the like. While the jury is out on just how safe these are to drink from, it is clear that the recycling process is very expensive and time consuming. Coca-Cola is one of the few major American companies with a program to receive these questionable containers.
- Glass in general is a great recyclable but care must be taken that it is not mixed in with other types of glass with additives. This could be Pyrex, auto glass, windows, light bulbs, mirrors, ceramics, etc…Again, clear glass fetches the best price while colored glass is almost worthless.
- Paper has long been king in the recycling world. Because trees, like oil, are a resource that is fast being used up the price of “new” paper is very expensive. The newspaper industry has set the standard for profitable recycling and use of paper. As a mater of practice, they turn all unsold copy into pulp to be used for the next run. At home, most all newspaper can be sent off including the inserts that come inside. The only things that should be removed are plastics and product samples. White office paper is also an excellent source for re-use. Many companies have taken to recycling this paper to cut down on costs. Phone books can be recycled as long as their glue is water-soluble. Check the inside cover for information concerning this. Papers that can’t be recycled include those contaminated with food, waxed or oil soaked paper, thermal papers and papers of any kind that are laminated with plastics, such as dog food bags.
- Batteries, once thought to be good only for the trashcan, are increasingly being recycled these days. It seems that it will not be long until the single use battery becomes a thing of the past. There is a group called the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation that promotes the recycling of these types of batteries and provides many avenues for the home consumer to safely dispose of, or even sell, the old batteries they are no longer using. This comes hand in hand with new laws by several sates that prohibit someone from throwing rechargeable batteries away in the trash.
- Finally, there is the recycling of old automotive products: oil, batteries, and tires. While all of these are great concerns to the environment, they are luckily easily recycled. Concerning oil, put the used oil in a clearly marked jug. Often, oil centers such as Jiffy Lube and Valvoline Oil Change Centers will accept used oil. If need be, you can call your local dump or toxic agencies for referrals to locations that will accept the oil. Stores such as Pep-Boys and Wal-Mart may also take old oil as many states have laws that require vendors that sell oil to take used oil in for recycling. Tires tend to go to a dump or dedicated recycler and you can expect to pay up to 5 dollars for the service. Old care batteries may be worth money or not, but any garage or mechanic will take it off your hands free of charge.