How to Start Recycling in 4 Easy Steps

If you’ve been hearing all the news about climate change and are thinking about reducing your carbon footprint and producing less waste, there is no better time to learn how than right now! 

One important aspect is to think critically about what you purchase and consume.

You can skip the plastic bags and keep reusable cloth bags on hand for shopping, or buy quality-made products that will last you years longer than a cheaply-made option. 

For everything that we can’t eliminate, there’s recycling. Thankfully, it’s easier than ever to learn how to start recycling at home. Let’s walk you through the process to set yourself up with your own recycling program quickly. 

Why is Recycling so Important?

The many foods we eat and the products we consume come in packaging of all shapes, sizes, and materials.

These packages all require resources to make: extracting raw materials from the earth, refining, and processing all require energy and increase greenhouse gas emissions. 

By re-using raw materials, we can completely remove the energy cost of the extraction of that material. Plus, a material that has already been processed once is reprocessed more efficiently than raw materials, for even more extra energy savings!

How Can You Recycle at Home?

It takes a few easy steps to start collecting and returning recyclables at home. 

Join your city’s recycling program

  • Most cities offer services to pick up recycling weekly. You may need to purchase a special bin and leave it curbside on your designated day of the week. 
  • Check out your hometown’s website to see their options and recycling schedules.
  • If they don’t offer curbside pick-up, you can still collect your cans and recyclables and bring them to a local recycling depot/drop-off center when it’s convenient for you. 

Learn which products to recycle

Not every recyclable product is recycled everywhere – different facilities have different capabilities.

  • Larger cities have larger processing depots that are well equipped to break down a wider variety of products. 
  • Your city’s public works department will have a list of what they do and don’t accept.
  • Pay close attention to avoid having your recycling bins rejected for containing items the city doesn’t take.
  • Many municipalities have charts that visually lay out what can and cannot be recycled. They’re great to print off and keep handy for easy reference.
  • The recycling chart is an excellent opportunity to teach children how to recycle on their own, too.

Create a recycling corner

Set up your recycling bins in a comfortable spot, so that recycling is easy to turn into a routine – convenience is the key to consistency!

If you don’t have room for the full-sized bin in your kitchen or close by, consider placing a small container in your kitchen that you can take to your large bin and empty periodically.

Buy recycled products

It doesn’t stop at the recycling bin. Try to buy recycled products wherever you can to reduce your carbon footprint even further.

What is the Easiest Thing to Recycle?

Aluminum cans are one of the ideal recyclables. They are 100% recyclable and save up to 95% of the energy compared to creating a new can from raw materials.

How is aluminium recycled?

  1. Once the aluminum is in the recycling facility, it’s crushed by a massive crusher, which turns the cans into a large block of aluminum.
  2. The cans get shredded into small pieces, and any leftover contaminants get removed. 
  3. A super-hot 750°C furnace melts the shredded metal down into molten aluminum.
  4. The melted aluminum is poured into steel blocks and formed into sheets. 
  5. New cans get created from these aluminum sheets.

How to Recycle Aluminum Cans

Luckily, aluminum is one of the recyclables accepted almost everywhere.

If you drink canned beverages like soda or beer regularly, they can start to take up space in your recycling bin quickly. 

Use a can crusher to reduce the space they take up in your bin, make the recycling depot’s job more manageable, and prevent them from flying away on a windy day. 

Final Word

Small steps can make significant changes, and that starts with the individual: you!

With a few easy steps, you’ll be on your way to reducing your carbon footprint and helping to keep the earth a good place for generations to come.