The United States produced 4.4 pounds of trash per person per day in 2011, totaling 250 million tons according to the Enivronmental Protection Agency (EPA). Fortunately there are many helpful tools and resources for those looking to reduce the amount of waste they generate. Here are just a few tips for improving recycling strategies for your home or business.
Research Local Programs
There are many ways to reduce waste besides sorting the trash before taking it out. You can find out new ways to recycle by researching programs offered both through the government and privately. A good way to start your research is by checking the recycling programs provided by your city and state. Improper waste disposal may result in fines, so it is important to stay up to date with waste management policies, as they can change occasionally.
There may also be other opportunities to reduce waste that you weren’t even aware of. In New York City, for example, metal and plastic furniture will be picked up alongside regular curbside recyclables. There are many other resources aside from public waste management programs, such as private electronics recycling companies that can help you reduce your carbon footprint. Earth911.com offers great research tools for finding out what can be recycled in your area, as well as how to recycle almost anything in other parts of your town.
Many electronics contain hazardous materials and possibly valuable metals like copper wiring. Before throwing out an old TV or computer, consider donating it. Appliances that still work can be passed on by posting an ad for them on craigslist. This way other people in need can make use of them. But what if the appliance is broken?
Check this listing of businesses found in most areas that will recycle your old electronics. Power companies may offer recycling programs as well. ConEdison offers the Residential Bounty Program. This means ConEdison will pick up and recycle refrigerators and freezers for eligible customers. In exchange, they customer will receive $50 per appliance.
Composting is a great way to get rid of food waste without throwing it away. By using a plastic bin or other container, you can create fertilizer right in your home without the fear of a mess or smell. In fact, composting is very easy to manage and learn. But if that’s not your thing, you may also consider donating your food scraps and lawn trimmings to a local community garden. In many places compost is collected and managed by community or city programs, like the New York City Compost Project.
Recycle at Work
There is no reason reducing waste should be limited to the home. You may be a small business owner who wants to be more eco-friendly, or you may belong to an organization that doesn’t already have a recycling program. Whatever the case may be, all organizations can benefit by joining the modern green movement. The EPA offers many helpful resources for setting up or improving recycling programs for businesses and other organizations.
Learn other ways to be more eco-friendly here.