Make recycling convenient
Recyclable cans, bottles, and newspapers will actually make it to the recycling bin if you make it convenient.
Place the collection bins in the garage near the door so you can simply toss them in quickly. If your bins are located on the other side of the garage from the door, then you are less likely to recycle that diet soda can.
If your sanitation department has a recycling program, check their website for a list of the items they accept. Occasionally they will add new items to the list. Tape the recycle list at eye level by the bin as a reminder.
Batteries should not be thrown into the trash. Keep a bag near the new batteries to collect the old ones. Items that contain harmful substances, such as mercury and lead, or precious metals that can be reused should be taken to a hazardous waste collection center.
Examples of these items include:
- Florescent lights
- Household cleaners
- Expired fire extinguishers
Many cities host “e-waste” drop-offs throughout the year. Stores like Best Buy also have collection bins for some electronics.
Designate a small area in the garage to store these items until you collect enough to warrant a trip. Ask friends and neighbors if they have anything you can take for them, and maybe they will return the favor and save you a trip next time.
One person’s junk is another one’s treasure
If it is something of value you could try to resell it on a site like eBay or Poshmark or hold a garage sale. Want to just get rid of it? Freecycle.org is great for passing along items that you can’t use anymore but are too nice to throw away. There may also be local freecycle-type local to your area.
Not only is this a way to give items a second-life but it’s also a way to find items you need for free rather than buying them new. It is also great for finding odds ‘n ends for school projects.
Recycle your magazines by sharing them with a friend or neighbor when you are done reading them. Fly often? Leave your books/magazines in the airport or airplane for others to enjoy. Waiting rooms are another spot to leave used magazines if they are fairly current.
Plastic bags from the grocery store have many uses. Store them in a closet using one bag to hold all the rest.
Use the back of “trash” paper for scrap paper. Great for making “to-do” or grocery store lists. Cut a stack in half and staple it together at the top. Voila...your new scrap paper pad.
Use reusable cloth bags
Use reusable cloth bags when shopping. Most stores offer them for $1 per bag, and it is an eco-friendly alternative to plastic and paper bags. Store them in the back of your car so you don’t forget them.
Invest in rechargeable batteries and a charger. Not only are you helping the environment, but you will save money, too.
Minimize your junk mail by taking your name off lists
CatalogChoice.org - remove your name from catalog mailings or contact the companies yourself.
DMAChoice – Direct Marketing Association
YellowPagesOptout.com – Eliminate phone book deliveries
Federal Trade Commission - Add your phone number to the do not call list
Find more ways to stop mail and calls at: Federal Trade Commisision's How to Stop Junk Mail article.