With climate change already taking affect across the globe, our efforts to reduce the pollution and waste we produce are more vital than ever. On April 22, Earth Day created a new resurgence in green innovation, inspiring our communities to take steps forward toward a more sustainable planet.
This year, HUNT joined in on these efforts by holding seminars on how to properly recycle and implementing those guidelines in our offices. In the most recent study done by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) only 34.6% of all waste was recycled, leaving the rest to be burned, dumped in landfills, or polluting our waters.
So, what can you recycle? Probably more than you think. A local waste facility, Waste Management, provided our staff with the knowledge of how to properly recycle.
Before getting into what can and can’t be recycled, it’s important to note that what goes into your recycling bin needs to be clean! One dirty product, or one with waste still in it, can contaminate an entire bale of recycling, containing thousands of pounds of collected materials. This means those products will go to a landfill instead of being reused.
Over the years, the production of plastics has been a driving force in the recycling movement. Plastics come in all varieties, all with different recycling needs. But what type of plastics can be recycled? Recycle by shape! Bottles, jars and jugs are all safe to put in your recycling bin.
Paper and cardboard are a no-brainer when it comes to recycling, with more than 63% being recycled annually. Among the list of paper products that can be recycled are corrugated cardboard, office paper, newspaper, paperboard that is used in products such as cereal boxes, cardboard dairy and juice cartons, junk mail, phone books and even magazines. A common misconception is that the glossy paper used in magazines cannot be recycled. While that was true in the early days of recycling, with today’s technology, nearly all facilities now accept glossy paper.
Metals are next on the list to recycle. The most popular aluminum cans are 100% recyclable and could drastically reduce the energy needed to produce new cans. Aluminum foil is also recyclable as well as steel cans and tin cans.
While glass in the majority of its forms are safe to recycle, some glass products are not. The following items should not be recycled, glass contaminated with stones, dirt and food waste, ceramics such as dishware, ovenware or decorative items, heat-resistant glass such as Pyrex, mixed colors of broken glass, mirror or window glass, crystal, light bulbs and cathode-ray tubes found in some televisions and computer monitors.
Batteries and electronics are also eligible to be recycled, however don’t just throw them into your recycle bin and expect them to get picked up on garbage day. Check in your local area for facilities that accept batteries and electronics, such as your local hardware or electronics store.
Our efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle should be a part of all of our everyday lives. HUNT is excited to do our part by implementing these practices in order to protect our environments and reduce pollution.
Check out the Recycle Often, Recycle Right website for more do's and don't of recycling.
Want to learn more about what you can do to help our environment? Check out the initiatives and training classes at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation website.