Want To Help The Environment? These 10 Ten Things Will Make An Impact

Following Earth Day 2021, Americans are feeling the call to step it up and join in the movement to help lead our earth away from a catastrophic slide into the point of no recovery. Right now it’s not only a necessity, it is truly our moral responsibility as inhabitants and community members on this planet to be part of the solution.

Some of the number one ways you can EASILY help make an immediate difference is by recycling. More than just your plastic bottles and cans, we’re going to introduce you to items you may not have considered as recyclable. Every single time you recycle, you help reduce greenhouse gases and your carbon footprint.


If you have already established an effective recycling program at home, challenge yourself and take it to the workplace. Is your office joining in the recycling effort? From used paper, to electronics, and newspapers, almost all waste created in the work environment can be recycled or greatly reduced. For information on implementing successful recycling programs check out these articles, 8 Tips For Successful Organics Recycling, and 5 Steps to a Successful Recycling Program.

Recycle Anything

Looking to recycle unusual unwanted items? Recycle Search makes your recycling needs as easy as possible; simply use the Recycle Search link to find a location near you. This free recycle search site from RecycleNation is the number one technology tool in the United States to improve environmental sustainability and features the world’s largest recycling database. 

Now for the TOP TEN things you can recycle to make the greatest impact.

  1. Compost, Compost, Compost!

Food scrap recycling seems to be a category that many people back away from. Due to either lack of know-how or the misconception that it’s stinky and difficult. Food waste takes up more space in landfills than plastic or paper. And almost half of that comes from individuals (versus businesses). You can easily see why this is number one on the list. Composting is one of the most eco-friendly changes you can make at home. There are several ways to begin: by starting small in your kitchen, to setting up bins in your backyard, to joining your local community garden. It is quite simple and extremely rewarding, especially to see your food scraps turn into nutritious soil and in-turn growing food and feeding yourself or others.

  1. Reduce, Reuse, & Recycle Your Clothes

‘Fast fashion’, the mass production of inexpensive clothing, has a major impact on the environment. Again, this is another area where most people don’t think about recycling or about how a choice in what type of clothes to buy affects the ecosystem. Start looking for brands made-out of recycled content, such as plastic bottles, and sustainable materials, such as hemp. If you’re shopping online this is even easier as there are dozens and dozens of affordable companies offering eco-friendly clothing now. To reuse and recycle clothing, you can host clothing swaps with friends and neighbors. Don’t be shy about visiting second hand stores and thrift shops either. They hold many treasures in fashionable clothing for extremely affordable prices.

  1. Newspapers 

In the U.S., at least 10 million tons of newspapers are tossed into the trash each year. Around 75,000 trees are required to produce one edition of the Sunday New York Times. It is SO easy to recycle a newspaper, and at the same time will make a significant difference in keeping 10 million tons of paper out of our landfills each year.

  1. Cardboard

 Waste Management shares that by recycling cardboard, we can save 24% of the total energy needed for producing virgin cardboard. This is true for what is called paperboard as well, the material used to make cereal boxes, shoe boxes, etc. Both of these products can be recycled with all major city recycling programs across the country.

  1. Plastics

Plastic has been the number one topic of recycling campaigns for decades now because it is so exceedingly damaging to the entire planet. Unfortunately it continues to be an extreme problem. The statistics are shocking. 

  • Worldwide, 1 million plastic drinking bottles are purchased every minute.
  • 5 trillion plastic bags are used every year. 
  • Only 9% gets recycled.
  • A staggering 8 million tons ends up in the ocean every year.

Humans are addicted to plastic. Break the cycle. Stop buying bottled water. Say no to plastic shopping bags and use cloth bags instead. Don’t use plastic straws. Drink from a reusable cup instead of a plastic one. Avoiding plastic can divert mountains of garbage from the oceans and landfills.

  1. Aluminum Cans

Aluminum retains its properties indefinitely, so it is an excellent candidate for recycling. Doing so requires 95% less energy than making brand new cans. Recycling aluminum lowers the urgency for mining new aluminum, which in turn helps to preserve the environment.

  1. Glass 

Glass containers used in food and beverage packaging are 100% recyclable. They can be substituted for up to 95% of raw materials when new glass products are being made, making glass recycling highly friendly to the environment.

  1. Batteries

Although batteries are recyclable, they should NOT go in household recycling bins. Batteries require particular handling and should be taken to specialty drop-off locations. Batteries from all these sources can be recycled:

  • Rechargeable products such as electronics
  • Appliances, small and large
  • Cameras
  • Electric vehicles
  • Remote controls
  • Handheld games
  • Handheld power tools
  • Smoke detectors
  • Toys
  • Watches
  • Wireless headphones
  1. Household Hazardous Waste

Leftover household products such as paints, cleaners, oils, and pesticides require extra care when you dispose of them. These items are dangerous to people and bad for the environment if poured down the drain, dumped on the ground, or thrown out with regular trash. What you can do:

  1. Reduce your purchases of these products and look for alternative, non-hazardous products.
  2. When disposing, look for collection events in your community or permanent collection centers. Sometimes businesses that sell these products will also accept them for recycling.

10. Tires

Most auto workshops are required to accept and recycle your used tires when new ones are installed. If they do not, search out local collection events for these items specifically.

Coming Full Circle

Now that you are a recycling master, the next step is to purchase new products you need that are made from recycled materials. Thousands of products are available and growing exponentially as we support the industries that contain recycled content. When shopping, look for the products that can be easily recycled & that contain recycled material. Some of the common products you can find that can be made with recycled content include the following:

  • Aluminum cans
  • Car bumpers
  • Carpeting
  • Cereal boxes
  • Clothing
  • Comic books
  • Egg cartons
  • Glass containers
  • Laundry detergent bottles
  • Motor oil
  • Nails
  • Newspapers
  • Paper towels
  • Steel products
  • Trash bags

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