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How to recycle and why you should do it


In the United States, recycling rates have increased from less than 7% in 1960 to more than 34% in 2015. We have a lot of work to do, despite the promising progress. This guide will help you get started with recycling at home, work and school.

The Importance of Recycling

Why recycle? It is a simple concept. It’s beneficial to the environment when you turn something old into something else. Resources and materials are not wasted. During the manufacturing process, energy is conserved. Less waste is sent to landfills. It also helps to keep wildlife safe.

Recycling can also help create jobs that are well-paying. In 2016, a study found that in the United States, recycling and reuse activities accounted for 757,00 jobs.

By recycling properly, we can all help. The County of Arlington, Virginia, Trash and Recyclables site states that “Recyclables may be collected locally but are impacted worldwide.”


Understanding the recycling process is key to success. It is important to know where and what you can recycle. Recycling regulations and practices vary from city to city. Do your research.

Where to Recycle

You can recycle easily in a variety of locations. The local city regulations will determine the type of home you have.

You can find out about:

  • What kind of container is best?
  • When and how is material collected?
  • What items can I bring?
  • Do you require a special pick-up (e-waste, metals) to be scheduled?
  • Is there anything specific that could prevent your item from being recycled

Browse the largest recycling database available in North America. Enter your zip code and the item that you want to recycle to find drop-off locations near you. Knowing about your recycling options will reduce stress and encourage you to recycle.

What to Recycle

Few materials cannot be recycled. Paper, batteries, plastics, and glass are the most commonly recycled materials.


According to the most recent data from the EPA , paper products comprise the largest percentage of all waste materials (26%) in the United States. The trend is upward and can improve. Keep magazines, cardboard boxes, and mail away from the garbage.


The United States has made slow progress in plastic recycling. In 1970, less than 1% was recycled of plastic waste. 45 years later, that number was only 9%. Plastic waste can cause landfills to be overburdened as it takes anywhere between five and 600 years to decompose.

In 1970, only 1% of the glass used in the United States had been recycled. This number gradually increased to 26% by 2015. It is a great opportunity to grow. It is possible to recycle jam jars or bottles of drink.


Even aluminum foil can be recycled! Be sure to remove any food particles from the can before throwing it into the recycling bin. Americans discard about 2.7 million tons of Aluminum every year, and only 50% of it is recycled.


Did you know car batteries are one of the most recycled products in America? You can recycle other types of batteries as well. Find out which type of battery is yours and find a recycling facility.


In 2016, a study by the United Nations reported that only 20 percent of global e-waste had been recycled. E-waste is consumer electronics such as laptops, mobiles and TVs. properly disposing of these products is more important than ever for the environment.

Tips for Recycling

Even recycling masters can improve. Here are a few tips on how to recycle more effectively and efficiently.

  • Ensure it is clean! A single dirty product could contaminate a whole bale. This can lead to recyclables being redirected to landfills.
  • Flatten cardboard. You will have more space to recycle and save money by flattening cardboard.
  • The place designated recycling bins at work, home, and school.
  • When you are shopping, look for products that contain recycled materials.
  • Find out which plastics your building or neighborhood accepts.
  • Consider reusing and reducing waste before recycling.
  • Your materials may be used by local artists and schools for their classes and work.
  • Spread the word! Encourage others to join you in recycling!


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Jane S. King

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