Here are some simple and effective tips on how to recycle in the home which will take you several steps closer to a more sustainable and organic home.

When recycling:

  • Should you wash every item?
    Glass, metal and plastic containers should be rinsed free of any remnants of food, oil or other edibles. It is not necessary to remove the labels from jars or containers. Paper products however, should be clean and dry. Any paper products that are tainted with oils or other food products should go out with the regular trash.

  • What to do with lids.
    Regardless of the container the lid accompanied, plastic lids should go in the plastic recycling bin, metal lids should be recycled in the metal recycling bin and so forth.
  • Electronics and appliances, what to do with them?!?
    Television, refrigerators, air conditioners, computer, should all be disposed of properly to prevent further pollution. Consider donating working appliances to local schools, non profit organizations or shelters. For large appliances like refrigerators, washers and dryers, air conditioners and batteries you can locate the closest recycling center in your area by going to www.earth911.org The city may even pick up your appliances at your curb! Remember to remove refrigerator doors.
  • If your city requires you to sort and separate your recyclables before you take it to your curb, consider putting labeled storage containers for each material i.e. metal, glass, paper and plastic in key rooms around the house. Rooms to consider are the kitchen, garage and or utility room. You can simply use storage bins and label the outside with the first letter of the material that will be recycled i.e. 'G' for glass and 'P' for plastic. This method makes it a cinch to keep recycling organized!

To find out more about recycling in your neighborhood, visit www.earth911.org or use the zip code locator above. There you can punch in your zip code and you can find information about your city's recycling program. Additionally you can find out where to recycle car parts, oil, unwanted fuels, your vehicle, tires, all kinds of batteries, electronics, construction materials, glass, metals, and the list goes on. You can also visit http://www.obviously.com/recycle/ There you will find The World's Shortest Comprehensive Recycling Guide and how to reduce unwanted mail through the do-it-yourself: Stop Junk Mail, Email and Phone Calls Guide. Reducing the junk mail we receive would cut down the huge amount of paper waste that is generated every year through the US mail service.

If you want to teach your kids about recycling check out http://www.epa.gov/recyclecity/ . There you will find Recycle City, an interactive city where kids can learn about the benefits of recycling and the three Rs: reduce, reuse and recycle.

To learn more about which large corporations have recycling programs in place for the consumer products they produce, like Nike and their Nike Reuse-A-Shoe Program, read Corporate America Catches Recycling Fever.

Read part I , II and IV of our Sustainable Home Makeover.