People are all aware of the importance recycling has on the environment. Environmentalist and awareness campaigns have been sending out the recycling message for more than 20 years. However, most people are still confused about what they need to recycle. The most common materials that all are aware of are paper, plastic, and glass. However, there are so many more materials and appliances that are recyclable.
PET and HDPE Plastics
Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic is the most common plastic used and is the easiest to recycle. Almost 80% of plastic drinking bottles find their way to a landfill, and it is vital that landfill sizes be drastically reduced. Recycling plastic is one way of making sure that reduction happens. Using old plastic to make new plastic items uses far less energy which also translates into a great benefit for the environment.
High-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic is thicker than PET plastic and is used mainly in the manufacture of containers for detergents, certain household chemicals, and milk containers. Most HDPE plastics have the recyclable symbol on them (three arrows making the shape of a triangle). Check the number inside the triangle; this number determines if the container can be recycled or not. A number 1 or 2 means the item is recyclable at any recycling plant, numbers 3 to 7 means it has limitations on where it can be recycled.
Many people know they can recycle paper, plastic, and glass, however very few are aware that cans are recyclable. The most significant benefit of aluminum cans is that they can be recycled many times over without quality degradation. The recycling process for aluminum cans takes about 95% less energy than producing new ones.
With the help of recycling programs and new state regulations, it is practically effortless to recycle appliances. Typical household appliances include clothes dryers, washing machines, water heaters, ovens, microwaves, stoves, dehumidifiers, freezers, refrigerators, furnaces and air conditioners. There are several ways to recycle or dispose of old appliances:
- If purchasing a new appliance, most stores will haul away the old one for free or a small fee
- Landfills and recycling centers usually have an appliance drop off area
- Repair shops often will take them for parts or to refurbish and resell
Hardly anyone is aware of the fact that computers can, and need to be recycled. Some companies specialize in recovering computer parts, be sure they recoup the components within the country and not ship the computers to the third world to be dumped. The best method for getting rid of an old working machine is to donate it to a nonprofit organization or a technical school (i.e., computer repair) or pass it on to a family member. A generous act like that will have two benefits, firstly an old computer will be saved from the landfill, and secondly, a person who would not otherwise have access to a computer will now have one.