House Tipster’s Guide to Recycling at Home

Going green isn’t easy, but every little part helps to reduce your carbon footprint. Utilize these tips to avoid doing more harm to the environment than good.

Recycling at home is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. However, there are some things to keep in mind while “going green.” You may have the best intentions, but believe it or not, there’s a right way and a wrong way to recycle.

 

For example, certain household items should never be placed in a recycling bin because they will actually do more harm there than good. House Tipster has created a list of recycling do’s and don’ts to help make your home more environmentally-friendly.

 

Precautions for Paper Products

Putting paper products in the blue bin may seem like the simplest thing to do when it comes to recycling, but even this basic concept of recycling comes with caveats. Things like pizza boxes and other paper products that may have been contaminated with food waste shouldn’t go in your recycling bin. The food that gets mixed in with these products can contaminate an entire collection of recyclables, causing an entire load to end up in a landfill, thereby defeating the whole purpose of trying to recycle them in the first place!

 

Stuff like printer paper, newspapers, and envelopes can be recycled, but there’s a catch to this as well. Avoid shredding your waste paper because this shortens the length of the paper's fiber, thereby reducing how many times it can be recycled.

 

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Plastic Bag Problems

It is estimated that about 1 trillion plastic bags are used and thrown away worldwide annually. Most recycling centers won’t process plastic bags because they can get stuck in their machines’ gears and damage the equipment. To help reduce plastic bag waste, check if your local grocery store has a bin to recycle plastic bags. Many supermarkets place their recycling bins for plastic bags outside near their entrance. Moving forward, remember to bring your own bags when you go food shopping. Canvas totes will be much stronger than flimsy plastic bags, and more protective to the environment. It's a win-win. 

 

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Stop Using Styrofoam

Home recycling tips may seem null and void when it comes to Styrofoam products. Few recycling centers even accept Styrofoam as a waste product, meaning that most of the time, Styrofoam just ends up in a landfill to slowly decompose over a span of 500 years or more.

 

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Styrofoam is not only bad for the environment, but it’s also highly flammable. All in all, it’s best to try to avoid using these products altogether.

 

One easy way to reduce your Styrofoam-use is to opt for a paper cup instead of a Styrofoam one the next time you get coffee. If you’re feeling especially “green,” bring your own travel mug next time you get a cup ‘ joe. And some Styrofoam products, like packing peanuts, can also be reused. For example, they can be given to package delivery stores like UPS and FedEx where they can be reused for future packages.

 

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Grease & Oil Require Special Attention

One of the easiest things to neglect when it comes to household waste is grease and oil. It may seem like a big effort to recycle your food waste, but not doing so can have serious consequences. For example, pouring grease and oil down the drain can clog your pipes once it cools down and hardens. To prevent this, if you have a lot of excess grease after cooking, wait until it solidifies, and then empty it into a spare container. You can also check your local recycling center to see if they offer services for recycling grease and oil. If not, simply throw grease and oil away in a container. Alternatively, you could use cooking approaches that don’t require, or create, any grease and oil.

 

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Going green isn’t easy, but every conscious action helps to reduce your carbon footprint. For additional home recycling tips, you can look up recycling services in your area. Additionally, states provide guidelines detailing easy ways to recycle. These are widely available and are a great start to keeping an eco-friendly home. Remember, the more you do today, the better tomorrow will become. 

 

If you'd like to find out more about how you can make your home a more sustainable one, check out House Tipster's article, Save Green By Going Green: Make Your Home Energy Efficient.