One of our real estate agents' favorite annual events is coming soon: America Recycles Day on Nov. 15. It's the only nationally recognized day dedicated to empowering Americans to recycle more and buy recycled products. The day educates and encourages individuals to reuse as much as possible, be mindful of what they consume, repurpose items, and focus more on the recycling bins than trash cans.
- Know What Can and Can't Be Recycled
Just because an item has the recycling triangle does not mean it is recyclable. There's green-washed recycling and there's real recycling. For instance, some companies will have a recycling program for their waste products, but instead of recycling, they'll take the items to another part of the country. You need to read the recycling rules for your area's recycling program and follow the guidelines as best as you can. Each city has its own specifics, but here are basic guidelines:
- Paper: Paper is generally recyclable, including magazines, books, flyers, colored paper, and junk mail. However, the paper should never be sticky, wet, or mixed with other types of materials. Avoid waxy papers or those saturated with grease and food.
- Cardboard: Clean shipping, moving, and food boxes (crackers, cookies, cereal, etc.), as well as milk and juice containers, are recyclable if they're rinsed out.
- Plastic: Recyclable plastics are rigid and labeled by resin codes 1 through 7. Many disposable utensils aren't accepted due to the low-quality blend of plastic used. Plastic grocery bags, plastic wrap, sandwich bags shouldn't go in the recycling bin. Anything smaller than a credit card shouldn't be recycled.
- Tin cans, aluminum foil, aluminum soda cans: Soda, bean, soup, or tuna cans are recyclable. Just make sure they're empty, clean, and dry. Clean aluminum foil is also acceptable. Never include bottle caps, razor blades, or soda can tabs on their own.
- Glass: While glass is typically recyclable, you need to check with your municipality to see if glass is accepted. Rinse them before placing them in the bin and avoid putting broken glass in the recycling bin. Never put dishware, cups, and drinking glasses in the recycling bin.
- Avoid Recycling: Batteries, electronics, food, foam, paper plates, single-use utensils, paper towels, sandwich bags, clothing, or shoes.
- Rinse Your Recyclables
A little bit of residue on your recyclables is okay, but you need to clean the items as much as possible. Excess food can attract pests and make it more expensive to recycle because of the need to clean and remove critters from the recyclables. Also, food can contaminate an entire truckload of recyclable materials, rendering them useless. For containers filled with sticky substances, give them a good scrub and dry them. For paper products saturated with grease and food, don't recycle. If the product only has a few specks of grease, and you can get rid of food remnants, it can be recycled.
- Buy Recycled Products
Recycling is all about eliminating waste and the need to use more virgin materials. It makes sense to use the same principle when buying new items. You can find high-quality recycled materials in everything from office chairs to printer paper. It's also a great idea to donate items you no longer use to a local charity or thrift store so they can be reused.
- Compost Your Food Scraps
Composting is one of the simplest and most effective ways to recycle food waste. Organic matter is the greatest source of methane emissions and the second largest component found in landfills. Both your green kitchen waste and garden cuttings can go into an indoor or outdoor compost bin. If you have a large amount of food waste, look for curbside pick-up options for organic waste or commercial compost facilities that accept food scraps. And if you don't have a garden yourself, find a community garden or neighbors who can use your soil.
If you've been shopping for Albany homes for sale or are considering putting your house on the market, contact us to speak with an agent. We are happy to help you navigate the housing market and make the process as hassle-free as possible.