Co-op American has assembled a handy list of how to recycle items you might right now feel obliged to throw away. Click the link below for the entire list and to learn how you can recycle things such as:
Appliances: Goodwill or the Steel Recycling Institute can help you out with these
Compact fluorescent light bulbs: Your local IKEA store will recycle them
Eyeglasses: Your local Lion’s Club or eye care chain may collect these for redistribution to people in need
Tennis shoes: Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe program turns old shoes into playground and athletic flooring
Click the link below to learn much, much more.
I am a major fan of technology and all the benefits it provides, but it just saddens me to see how the waste from these products are ruining our planet. Have you ever upgraded your computer only to be left staring at the old one, wondering what in the world to do with it? The LAST thing you should do with your old computer is throw it in the trash where it will go into some land fill where it will leach toxins for the remainder of human life.
Plastic pollution is perhaps one of the greatest challenges we face, as it is now entering the food chain. It’s not just marine animals that are being affected. You, too, are ingesting minute levels of plastics every day, and being exposed to a potentially deadly mix of plastic chemicals and additives, including:
- Cancer-causing PFOAs
- PBDEs, which cause reproductive problems
- The reproductive toxins, phthalates
- BPA, which disrupts the endocrine system by mimicking the female hormone estrogen
Becoming more responsible about how we discard our waste is not just a “nice idea.” I believe it is an absolute necessity. But perhaps even more important than recycling responsibly, is to remember to reduce and reuse first, as much as possible.
Reducing, Reusing, and Complaining?
By reducing the amount of trash you generate, such as plastic wrappings, packaging, and shopping bags, you automatically reduce your need to recycle. Additionally, “making do” with appliances and electronics as long as they still work properly, rather than upgrading each year or every time something new comes along will also help.
I recently posted a wonderful video called The Story of Stuff that explains just how hefty a price tag all this “stuff” carries, and the immense impact our consumerism has on our planet.
However, you do have the power to help change this downward spiral. I especially enjoyed Co-Op American’s 21st suggestion for what to do with stuff you just can’t reuse or recycle:
“When practical, send such items back to the manufacturer and tell them they need to manufacture products that close the waste loop responsibly.”
Excellent idea! If more people started complaining about wasteful packaging, products that are built to break within six months and have to be continually replaced, and products that can’t be reused or recycled, public pressure could potentially revert this ridiculous trend.
Save Money, Save Your Planet, Save Your Health
Since many waste products are not only taxing on your wallet but also dangerous to your health, here are some common sense things you can do to reduce the amount of waste you create, and help keep you healthier:
- Store your food in glass, not plastic
- Avoid processed foods (which are stored in plastic bags with chemicals)
- Use reusable cloth shopping bags instead of plastic
- Re-bottle your filtered tap water into glass bottles instead of buying plastic bottled water
- Never throw old fluorescent light bulbs into your regular trash. Remember, mercury is an incredibly toxic and dangerous substance; a single drop in a large lake could make all the fish in it unsafe for consumption
Giving up bottled water is perhaps one of the easiest things you can do to help protest the mess that we are in and that is only growing worse every day. And my previous article, 25 Resources to Help You Reduce, Recycle, and Reuse Plastic Bags will give you creative tips for what to do with your plastic bags.