If you're looking for a meaningful way to start your journey in rescuing the planet, National Recycling Day is the perfect opportunity to do so. You can take steps to help reduce landfill burden, curb plastic pollution, cut down dangerous emissions that cause global warming, and protect our natural resources.
We can transform the way we think about recycling and encourage more of it by giving a spotlight to important days like these!
In light of this year's National Recycling Day, here are five simple steps you can take to turn yourself into a recycling enthusiast.
- Reuse & Recycle
The best way to make sure your old products do not choke the landfill is by reusing and recycling them. You can do this by always prioritizing reusable items over single-use items. For example, cotton tote bags over single-use plastic bags, rechargeable batteries over non-rechargeable variants, etc. If products run out of service life, take them to recycling centers or hand them over to trash collectors that collect old items from both residential and commercial vicinities. About 1,051 recycling facilities in the US handle over a hundred thousand tonnes of recyclables daily. If you have recyclables lying around the house that have expired in their usefulness or value, you know what to do with them. Visit the EPA's list of recyclables to have a better idea of the items you can recycle.
- Reduce Waste
Practicing ethical waste management reduces environmental impact. Landfills are bad for the quality of the air and water, which can have crucial negative impacts on your communities. To reduce waste in your life, you want to make sure you figure out the most beneficial ways to start cutting waste in your everyday life. Devices like faucets are frequently ignored, but faucet leaks can annually waste over 3000 gallons of water at one drop per second; making sure your home is free of leaky faucets is one way to greatly reduce your waste contribution. Food waste is another major source of waste generation. In fact, it is the largest single category of waste in US landfills. About 125 to 160 billion pounds of food goes to waste every year in America that could've been put to better use like feeding those who face food insecurity. To minimize food waste, cook consumable portions. Overcooking will result in leftovers and eventually, waste. You can also compost your kitchen and yard waste. This includes all compostables such as vegetable peelings, eggshells, fruit scraps, dried leaves, etc. Compositing contributes to soil recycling which helps strengthen the resilience of the ecosystem. Another option is to give compostable items, especially organic ones, to local farmers in your community. The term someone's trash is another's treasure is a proven statement when creatively dealing with waste reduction. Farmers are happy to use the compostable waste to enhance the soil or as animal feed. You can renew your food consumption habits this recycling day and beyond to help relieve our planet's massive waste problem.
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- Enhance The Outdoors
Take part in beach or park cleanup events. If there isn't one, organize your own cleanup event by gathering your friends, family, and neighbors. Make fliers outlining the meeting location and what to bring so that everyone is working towards a common goal. To make an even bigger impact beyond recycling day, propose turning the event into a weekly or monthly activity to keep community engagement enacted year-round. You can also plant trees as part of improving the neighborhood surroundings. Trees regulate the temperatures of our houses and outdoors, which contributes to mitigating effects of climate change. More trees also mean higher levels of oxygen and better air quality. Simply put, planting trees is an eco-friendly activity that benefits the entire community.
- Invest In Eco-Friendly Products
We encourage you to reuse the items you already own but if you are in need of a certain item, opt only for eco-friendly products. While recycling instead of mindlessly discarding items makes a difference, an even better solution is to start at the source and be conscious of the products you are purchasing. We won't have to get to the point of worrying about effective recycling if we shop with awareness. Moreover, products made of sustainable materials that are chemical and plastic-free are also safer for your health. The fewer chemicals you use, the lower the level of exposure to toxic pollutants.
- Organize A Swap Party
Swap gatherings are great for honoring National Recycling Day and also an excellent way to spread recycling awareness. You can organize one to exchange household items that are no longer required, be it clothes, shoes, cookware, toys, etc, with friends, family, and neighbors. Hang sign boards or posters around the house that will educate and encourage the participants to recycle. It can be creative lines like "recycle to sustain our life cycle" or the more frequently used such as "reduce, reuse, recycle." Swap events are fun group activities that everyone can enjoy while trading products to lower waste generation.
Get the word out, and let everyone you know about 15 November, America's National Recycling Day!