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Taking Care of Earth Through Responsible Material Usage

Recycling may be a relatively new concept to many people, but it has been around for a long time. Without recycling many materials can sit in the landfill for hundreds of years or more.

Are you using recycling as a way of taking care of the earth?  Let’s find out why recycling is so important and how we can all do our part.

Taking Care of Earth is Our Job

Humans are the only creatures on earth that produce trash. It is up to each of us to do our best at reducing, reusing, and recycling so that we can take care of the earth as it is the only place that we have to live!

 

Trash produced by humans
Trash produced by humans

 

 

Millions of tons of garbage are produced each year in most countries. Just imagine how big of a difference it will make if we all start recycling and being more environmentally responsible with the way we think and act.

Reduce

One of the easiest ways to take care of the earth is to simply change our ways and our mindset. Changing the way that we shop can mean the products that we buy, or just how we purchase them.

When we buy in bulk, the products often use less packaging. And, buying from places that let you use your container to fill are great ways to cut down on plastic and paper waste.

Reducing the number of items that we buy or the types of items that we purchase makes a difference. Next time you make a shopping list or go shopping try putting more thought into the process and see what a difference it makes.

You may find that you buy less prepackaged and ready-to-eat meals which will in turn force you to cook from scratch and have a healthier diet while saving the planet. It is a win-win situation!

Reuse

The concept of reusing is so foreign to many of us because we are used to mindlessly purchasing and disposing of items that could be reused somehow.

This approach to recycling is commonly known as upcycling. Upcycling a material taps into the creative and clever side of our brains.

For example, you can upcycle an empty tin from vegetables into many different things including planters to paint cans.

Recycle

Unfortunately, there are still plenty of people who do not recycle. This can be a result of being uneducated about recycling, being lazy about it, or not being given the resources and opportunity to recycle.

When a town/city, business, or home complex/apartment building participates in a recycling program, they provide specific bins or areas for placing your plastic, cans, and other recyclable materials to be picked up alongside the regular rubbish.

Not every area will recycle the same materials. You might receive a notice in the mail, or a label on your recycle bin telling you which materials are accepted for recycling.

 

taking care of earth
Taking care of earth

 

You can tell if a material can be recycled by looking for the marking on the container or package. The symbol to look for is a triangle made from arrows with a number inside.

If you do not see the symbol then it is likely that the particular item is not a recyclable material and can be thrown into the regular rubbish bin.

What Happens When We Recycle

The items that we recycle get collected by a special truck and taken to a recycling facility. They then get sorted and washed before they are melted down or ground up into small pieces which can then be used to make new products.

A recycled plastic bottle might be turned back into a plastic bottle, or it could become something entirely different.

 

Recycle
Recycle

 

Materials that are recycled save billions of tonnes of waste from sitting in the landfills, many of which would not break down for hundreds of years.

The Canvas Bag Movement

The world is finally starting to catch on to enforcing using reusable bags for shopping rather than giving out one-use plastic and paper bags to every customer that makes a purchase.

Using canvas bags or shopping baskets might take some getting used to after going shopping without them for our whole lives. A good way to remember to use your bags is to keep them in your car, or by your front door so that you can grab them when you leave to go shopping.

For those still using plastic shopping bags, you can still be responsible for it and return them to the stores that participate in collecting bags and recycling them. Or, you can reuse them at home for small rubbish bags or other applications.

Using a plastic bag once and throwing it away has become the norm, but it is incredibly wasteful.

Materials That Are Bad for the Environment

Of course, when we talk about making responsible choices, there is something on the opposite side of responsible. The opposite of environmentally friendly materials is materials that are bad for the environment, whether that be the way they are produced or how they break down.

What makes a material bad for the environment? Depending on how the material is produced, what toxic fumes are put into the environment during the making and disposal of it.

Ironically, the items that take the longest to break down or decompose are the ones that are most commonly accepted as recyclables.

For instance, plastic bags and bottles can take several hundred years to break down. And, glass bottles are estimated to take billions of years to break down- billions!

This is the main reason that our landfills are overflowing. If we took the time to buy less and recycle more, we could make a huge difference in our future.

We are eventually going to run out of room to store our trash.  So, we best start putting more thought and effort into the issue before that time comes.

Environmentally Friendly materials

When you see a label say that the items are made from recycled materials, it means that the item was once something else. After someone recycled it, it was given a new purpose and was reincarnated into what it is now.

Obviously, recycled material is environmentally friendly because instead of starting with raw material to make it, it was made with recycled materials.

Other types of environmentally friendly materials are ethically sourced and produced. And, also the biodegradable ones.

A biodegradable material means that it will break down in the landfill relatively quickly and without putting off harsh toxins into the air as it breaks down.

There are all sorts of cool alternative packaging and materials being produced. Have you seen the materials made from corn starch or mushrooms?

Manufacturing and Disposal

When we start thinking about making more environmentally responsible choices, we might become curious about how products are made, and what happens to them once they are disposed of. Before becoming environmentally conscious, we are simply consumers buying whatever is on the store shelf without putting much thought into any of that.

The production of the materials and items that we purchase and use plays a large part in whether that item is environmentally friendly, or not.

How to Recycle

Did you know that recycling is quite simple? First, figure out which materials are accepted in your area’s recycling program and obtain a recycle bin.

You can decipher recyclable materials from non-recyclable materials by looking for the symbol and number on the package. You can recycle many types of materials, from tin and metals to plastic and glass.

Next, you want to prep the material for recycling by rinsing out food residue. You will also want to remove any labels if possible.

One important thing to remember is not to put your recyclables in plastic bags before placing them in the bin. The bags do not get recycled in the same manner and can get stuck on the machines at the recycling plant.

Recycling Food Waste

Aside from recycling materials such as plastic and paper, we can also keep most of our food waste out of the rubbish bins by making a compost pile. Compost is made up of organic materials such as produce peels which when broken down can be turned into a high-quality all-natural fertilizer for plants.

Some more progressive thinking areas have begun picking up food waste on trash day, while others have drop-off sites for composting food scraps. If you do not have a garden, you can donate them to someone that does, or find a farm that uses food scraps as pig feed.

The Future of Earth is Counting on Us

There are so many things that we can do to become more environmentally conscious because taking care of the earth is up to each and every one of us. Shop smarter, and start looking for the recycle symbol before you throw an item in the garbage can.

 

In-floor chain conveyor & auto tie baler
Baler

 

Recycling is the way forward, and we are here to help with any questions you might have. Reach out to Anis Trend about commercial recycling balers, sorting lines, compactors, and much more.