[This post was previously published in April 2018 and has been updated and enhanced.]
Everyone knows they can recycle paper, soda cans and plastic water bottles. And most of us do. But did you know that there many other household waste materials that can also be recycled?
Recycling is not limited to paper, plastic, glass, and aluminum. In fact, with some creativity, some planning, and some consistent effort, almost anything you want to throw away can actually be recycled, reused, or repurposed.
The Adventure of Household Recycling
There are many of the Baby Boomer generation who can remember the days before recycling was the norm. In fact, if you were living in a typical American household in the late 1960s and early 1970s, recycling was a novelty.
It was during the 1960s that the first curbside collecting of yard waste, metals, and paper began in a few communities around the county. But it was the 1970s that saw the real push for recycling and environmental awareness. It was April 22, 1970 when Earth Day was celebrated for the first time.
In 1974, the first curbside recycling bin is used in Missouri for collecting waste paper and, by the end of that decade, almost 220 curbside collection programs were operating in the United States.
By 1990, according to some estimates, more than 10,000 communities had some sort of public recycling collection program and curbside recycling began to be established during that time, as well.
Driving much of this recycling movement was the concern over an increasingly littered and polluted environment along with the prospect of diminishing landfills for disposing of our trash. And these concerns are still with us today.
Recyclables or Refuse?
The sobering fact today is that landfills are indeed diminishing, but we also have the option to recylce much of our household waste. Which is far more beneficial than to simply toss out everything we consider "trash."
In fact, every appliance and piece of furniture in your home can be dismantled and the various components recycled. This is in addition to the smaller items that are typically reused or recycled.
Knowing that just about anything you need to get rid of in your home can be recycled is a good thing since we still lagging when it comes to recycling.
A National Geographic article highlighted a recycling study that painted a sobering picture of our global state of plastic disposal:
Of the 8.3 billion metric tons that has been produced, 6.3 billion metric tons has become plastic waste. Of that, only nine percent has been recycled. The vast majority—79 percent—is accumulating in landfills or sloughing off in the natural environment as litter. Meaning: at some point, much of it ends up in the oceans, the final sink.
If present trends continue, by 2050, there will be 12 billion metric tons of plastic in landfills. That amount is 35,000 times as heavy as the Empire State Building.
The problem with some materials such as plastic is that they have an extremely long life. In fact, according to this study, plastics take more than 400 years to degrade. That means that most of it will still exist throughout our lifetimes in some form since only 12 percent has been incinerated.
And Americans still have a long way to go to improve their plastic recycling practices.
According to a recent report from Hi-Cone, only 26 percent of adults in the U.S. reported that they recycled all of their plastic waste inside or outside their home.
Recycling is More Than Just "Being Green"
Our municipal waste disposal services have been evolving to reflect the push to "be green." Most of us now have different trash bins, or bin compartments, for different materials, all to be recycled if possible. Recycling and green junk removal is being promoted just about everywhere in ads, public service announcements, and signs.
And there is much more of your household junk and excess trash that can be disposed of by recycling.
So what are the benefits of our improved recycling efforts?
- It protects the forests which help to reduce CO2 emissions
- Recycling significantly reduces use of fossil fuel energy and reduces CO2 emissions
- Increased recycling helps conserve our finite natural resources
- Recycling also conserves fresh water up to 95% in the mining and manufacturing process for many materials
- And recycling prevents waste from going into oceans
Sometimes we find that we need to dispose of larger household items like furniture or sports equipment. In fact, almost everyone finds themselves needing to get rid of excess stuff at some point because our things break, wear out, or simply become unusable or outdated.
10 Household Items You Probably Didn't Know You Can Recycle
Almost everything that ends up in the municipal waste stream could have been recycled, repurposed or reused.
In fact, one of the great things about household trash is that most of the common materials that make up the bulk of our household trash and junk is recyclable.
By being aware of these waste materials and being conscientious in your junk disposal practices you can make a huge difference in the overall recycling efforts.
We have illustrated for you the ten most common household items you can recycle:
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Too many people, unfortunately, still simply toss everything into the trash. This just adds to the municipal waste stream and eventually into a local landfill.
The good news is, that with a little advance planning and forethought, much of what we normally think of as trash can be sent to a recycling center instead.
The Best Junk Removal Firm for Large Recycling
A great benefit to having a professional firm remove your household and other trash is that you won't have unsightly junk and debris taking up space. Typically, you can have it taken away that day or the next day, and sometimes even from inside your home so you don’t have to put it out in your driveway, parking lot or loading dock.
Junk King is proud to be North America’s greenest residential junk removal service. We pioneered recycling based junk removal in 2005 and have been going greener ever since. We sort each and every job for metals, e-waste, paper, household goods, textiles, furniture and appliances, in our recycling warehouses.
But “going green” also means we donate, repurpose, and reuse everything from clothing, toys, baby cribs and strollers to office furniture and supplies. We run many of our trucks run on biodiesel, a domestically produced fuel made from more environmentally safe non-petroleum, renewable resources. Junk King is committed to continuing to lead the way to help keep our planet clean, green and beautiful for the generations to come.
Our team specializes in trash and junk removal and we can be at your home in mere minutes, so call us today! Our crew is fully insured and well-trained, so you can trust them to get rid of your unwanted items in a professional and courteous fashion.
If you have questions about what we do or what we believe, give us a call at 1-888-888-JUNK (5865).