Recycling: How An Individual Actually Can Make A Difference

Recycling is an important way to reduce extra waste in landfills. By recycling appropriate materials, methane emissions can be reduced, and items may be reused multiple times before necessarily entering a landfill.

How Do You Start Recycling?

Recycling can be performed using several methods, including recycling bins and personal reuse of an item. If possible, an item should be reused two or more times before entering a recycling bin. This may include using shopping bags as trash liners, using plastic food containers to store leftovers, or using newspapers as padding for the storage or movement of fragile items. Get creative. Once a recyclable material has been reused as much as possible, it may then be placed in a recycling bin for further recycling at a recycling plant.

Recycling bins for personal use are generally available for curbside collection and may incur a small fee to pay for the recycling process or bin rental, depending on the municipality and province. Recycling bins range in color from blue, green, and gray, and they may range in shape from a box, rolling bin, or bag. The colors of the containers indicate what may be recycled in the different containers and may differ depending on your living situation. Some provinces may also have public recycle bins and drop-off locations. These public bins encourage recycling when not at home and increase access to recycling bins for those who may not have access at their home or apartment.

What Can Be Recycled?

Materials that may be recycled in a recycling bin include most plastics, paper, glass, and metal, with certain specifications for each item respectively. Once collected, these items will enter factories where they can then be remade into new items. For example, plastic may be made into new plastic bags, carpet, patio furniture, plastic lumber, or new plastic containers. Some areas of Canada have expanded their recycling abilities to include tires, motor oil, batteries, and even compostable materials. These items may be either refurbished and reused or reused in another form.

At least a quarter of the waste generated by individuals is recyclable. By placing recyclable materials in a recycling bin, not only is the amount of waste entering landfills decreased, but jobs are also being created and maintained, therefore benefiting the environment and the economy. Increasing awareness of recycling is a nationwide effort that begins with individuals consciously recycling items on a daily basis, whether they are at home or out and about.