If you want to protect the planet, start recycling these 8 common items

In the grand scheme of things, each of us holds a certain power in protecting our planet. And it’s a lot simpler than you might think.

It starts with recycling, a small action that can have a huge impact. Especially when we recycle the right items.

There are certain everyday items that, when recycled correctly, can significantly decrease our environmental footprint.

In this piece, I’m going to share with you 8 common items that you should start recycling if you’re serious about protecting our planet. The power is in your hands. Ready to make a change?

1) Plastic bottles

Ever consider the journey of a plastic water bottle?

You take a sip, screw the cap back on and toss it in the trash. Seems harmless, right? But it’s a cycle that’s harming our planet.

When not recycled, plastic bottles can take up to 450 years to decompose in our landfills or oceans. That’s several lifetimes of damage for just a few minutes of convenience.

But here comes the good news. By recycling, we can reduce this impact significantly. Plastic bottles are one of the most commonly recycled items and can be reprocessed into many new products, from clothing to carpeting and more.

By tossing your plastic bottles into the recycling bin instead of the trash, you’re not just making an easy choice; you’re making a powerful one.

So next time you finish that bottle of water, remember: Recycling isn’t just another task, it’s our responsibility to protect where we live.

2) Glass jars

I’ve got this little habit–perhaps you could call it a quirk. It started when I was young.

Every time I finished a jar of pickles or strawberry jam, I’d wash the jar, peel off the label, and put it away in a cupboard. Before long, I had amassed quite a collection of glass jars.

It wasn’t until much later that I realized the environmental impact of my little quirk.

Glass is 100% recyclable and can be reused endlessly without loss in quality or purity. Unlike plastic or paper, glass can be recycled infinitely and never wear out.

Recycling a single glass jar saves enough energy to light an 11 watt CFL bulb for 20 hours.

Nowadays, my quirky collection has a purpose. Each recycled jar is a step towards preserving our planet’s resources, reducing our landfill waste, and conserving energy.

So next time you empty a glass jar, give it another life. Recycle it. Because every little bit counts, and it begins with us.

3) Aluminum cans

Aluminum cans are a recycling superstar. Did you know that it only takes about 60 days for an aluminum can to go from your recycling bin back to the grocery store shelf as a new can?

That’s because aluminum is one of the most recyclable materials on the planet. When you recycle your soda or beer cans, they can be completely recycled and returned to the store shelf in just two months.

It’s not just about speedy recycling though. Recycling aluminum cans saves 95% of the energy needed to make new ones from raw materials.

So, the next time you’re enjoying a cold beverage from an aluminum can, remember to recycle it. You’ll be contributing to a cycle of sustainability that’s good for our planet.

4) Cardboard boxes

We’re living in a world where home deliveries are becoming the norm. From Amazon packages to pizza boxes, our homes are inundated with cardboard.

But what happens to all these boxes?

Many end up in the trash, contributing to the millions of tons of waste we produce each year. And that’s a shame, because cardboard is highly recyclable.

Recycling cardboard saves trees and reduces the energy needed to create new cardboard products. It also reduces the amount of waste going into our landfills.

So, next time you’re breaking down boxes for trash day, consider recycling them instead. It’s a simple action that can have a significant impact on our planet.

5) Paper

Paper. It’s everywhere. From the mail we receive daily to the books that line our shelves, our world is filled with paper.

But every piece of paper represents a tree, a beautiful life cut down. It’s a sobering thought when you consider how much paper we use every day.

Recycling paper can help. It saves trees, reduces landfill waste, and uses 70% less energy than making paper from raw materials.

So, the next time you’re about to toss that old newspaper or junk mail in the trash, pause. Remember the trees. Choose to recycle instead.

Because every piece of paper saved is a small victory for our forests, and for our planet.

6) Old electronics

I remember the first time I had to part ways with a beloved gadget. It was an old music player, one that had long since been replaced by my smartphone. Still, it was hard to let go.

Gadgets like these often hold sentimental value, making them difficult to dispose of. But when they’re no longer working or outdated, they become electronic waste, or e-waste.

E-waste is a growing problem globally, with millions of tons generated each year. The toxic materials found in e-waste can harm our environment and health if not properly managed.

Recycling old electronics allows valuable materials to be recovered and reused, reducing the environmental impact of mining for new materials.

So next time you’re upgrading your phone or saying goodbye to an old friend, remember: Recycling electronics is a way of honoring their service by giving them a new lease on life. And it’s a way of respecting our planet too.

7) Batteries

Batteries are a part of our everyday life. They power our remotes, our smoke alarms, and our flashlights. But what happens when they run out of juice?

Often, they end up in the regular trash. But this can have serious environmental consequences. Batteries contain heavy metals and other hazardous materials that can leach into the soil and water, causing pollution.

Recycling batteries is a simple solution that can make a big difference. It ensures that these hazardous materials are handled safely and that valuable materials can be recovered for reuse.

So remember, don’t just toss those used batteries in the bin. Recycle them properly, and help keep our environment clean and safe.

8) Food waste

Food waste is an often overlooked item that can and should be recycled.

When food waste ends up in landfills, it decomposes and releases methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.

But when we recycle our food waste by composting, we turn it into nutrient-rich soil that can nourish plants and reduce the need for chemical fertilizers.

Decomposing leftovers might not seem like a big deal, but collectively, our kitchen scraps can make a significant difference in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

So remember: Don’t just toss those fruit peels and coffee grounds in the trash. Compost them. It’s a simple action with far-reaching impacts.

The heart of the matter: It’s about choice

The decision to recycle often comes down to a simple choice we make in our daily lives.

Each item we recycle is a statement. A declaration of our commitment to the environment, to sustainability, and to future generations.

When we choose to recycle, we’re not just diverting waste from our overflowing landfills. We’re also conserving resources, reducing pollution, and combating climate change.

In essence, recycling is a powerful tool in our hands. It’s a tool that can help shape the world into a healthier, cleaner place for all of us.

The eight items discussed in this article are just the tip of the iceberg. There are countless other items that can be recycled, each with its own impact on the planet.

So, let’s make the choice. Let’s recycle more. Because every bit counts. And because this is our planet. Our home.

Let’s make choices today that will make a difference tomorrow. Because in the end, it’s not just about recycling. It’s about caring for our planet and leaving a better world for those who come after us.

Picture of Ava Sinclair

Ava Sinclair

Ava Sinclair is a former competitive athlete who transitioned into the world of wellness and mindfulness. Her journey through the highs and lows of competitive sports has given her a unique perspective on resilience and mental toughness. Ava’s writing reflects her belief in the power of small, daily habits to create lasting change.

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