Summer Recycling Tips
As the weather heats up and the days grow longer, our weekends are increasingly filled with summer trips, barbecues, and pool time. It all adds up to a lot of time spent outside in a beautiful environment we want to protect. So, while you’re soaking up all the sun, reduce waste and save resources by following these summer recycling tips:
You’ll likely be mowing the lawn a lot this summer, so don’t let that cut grass end up in a landfill! The EPA estimates that yard waste accounts for 18% of our landfills, which are quickly filling up and running out of space. Your grass clippings are organic material that can be reused to benefit the environment. Instead of bagging the grass as you mow, leave it on the lawn where it will return valuable nutrients to the lawn. If you’re worried about the look of cut grass on your lawn, add your clippings to a compost pile instead. Either way, your grasscycling will make a big impact on the environment and help to reduce landfill burdens.
On road trips, pack food and snacks in reusable containers and bring a reusable water bottle instead of buying bottled water. Don’t forget to bring along bags to collect recyclables in the car and look for recycling bins at rest stops.
If you have old beach or pool toys that are old or ruined, try finding other uses for them or patching holes before throwing away. These products are usually made of PVC and therefore not recyclable, so think about that before buying new ones. If you are shopping for new pool toys, buy those made from recyclable materials to minimize the ecological impact.
At a summer barbecue or picnic, make recycling convenient by putting a clearly labeled recycling bin by the trashcan. Recycle cans, plastic, and aluminum foil. Since plastic cutlery usually can’t be recycled, provide reusable knives and forks for your guests. If you really want to work toward zero waste, put out reusable napkins, plates, cups, and cutlery at your next party! Of course, this isn’t always practical so, if you must buy disposable, try to find paper products that are made from recycled materials and are biodegradable or compostable.
If your barbecue preparation includes getting rid of an old grill, recycle it instead of throwing it away! To recycle a grill, clean it thoroughly and then take it apart, separating the pieces into piles of metal and plastic. Stainless steel, steel, cast iron, brass, and aluminum can all be recycled. Plastic parts should all have a recycling symbol and number that tells you how they should be recycled. You may also be able to recycle some of the electronic components. Just check your local recycling center to find out about e-waste pick-up or drop-off. Old propane tanks can usually be recycled where you purchased them. If not, find a location near you for recycling.
Once you have finished recycling your old grill, replace it with a more eco-friendly version. Gas and electric are better for the environment than wood or charcoal, and cooking on a gas grill is even better for the environment than cooking indoors!
When picking out your new summer wardrobe for these warm-weather celebrations, remember to recycle any used clothes you no longer want in a yellow bin!
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