Recycling Everyday Items

Recycling plastics and other materials such as aluminum and paper has been an ingrained behavior since I was a kid. I remember our school celebrating the 20th anniversary of Earth Day in 1990, and that’s the year I learned all about recycling. So I do my best to reuse and recycle as often as I can – whether reusing old clothes for projects, re-upholstering old chairs or simply putting aluminum and plastic containers in the recycle bin.

Some of the items I recycle:

  • Tin cans. These are from canned goods like vegetables, chili, diced or crushed tomatoes, and any other foods that come in this type of container.
  • Baby food jars and plastic containers. We go through three of these a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) for Baby Frugalista, so I’m happy to recycle them.
  • Aluminum cans. I usually drink one can of Coke Zero a day, sometimes two, so they also get tossed into the recycle bin.
  • Plastic bottles. Lest you think I’m a huge soda addict, I also go through one liter of seltzer a day during the week while I’m at work. Occasionally, my husband will drink a Snapple, in either the glass bottle or the bigger plastic container.
  • Shower items. Shampoos, conditioners and body washes mostly come packaged in recyclable plastic bottles.
  • Plastic Ziploc bags. This one depends on what was in the bag– if it’s a non-residue-leaving snack, I’ll turn the bag inside out and wash it, letting it air-dry for another (non-food) use, such as storing rubber bands or paper clips.

Other items that can be recycled are plastic food containers such as Gladware or Tupperware, plastic hangers, plastic and paper bags, newspapers, magazines and books. We reuse plastic bags at least once, mostly when cleaning out the cat little. Paper grocery bags can be reused at the grocery store on the next shopping trip for a 2-cent credit; sometimes, I put the extras out with the paper recycling at the curb.

If we didn’t recycle, we’d be contributing a good amount to landfills. I know a number of people who don’t bother to sort their recyclables from their regular garbage, and honestly, it drives me nuts if I think about it.

Every little bit helps, but I still think I could be doing more. What other items do you reuse and/or recycle? Am I missing anything in particular?

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