Celebrating America Recycles Day: Strategies for Effective Waste Reduction

Recycling is the repurposing of waste into new, useful materials. Recycling helps to save energy, water, and raw materials. It also helps ease the burden on landfills. Being mindful of our limited natural resources can help the environment, reduce pollution, and mitigate climate change. Recycling correctly and reducing waste is an important tactic to help locally while thinking globally. This Recycling Day, we will discuss some vital tips for recycling and reducing waste.

Did you know November 15th is America Recycles Day? 

Recycling is the repurposing of waste into new, useful materials. Recycling helps to save energy, water, and raw materials. It also helps ease the burden on landfills. 

Being mindful of our limited natural resources can help the environment, reduce pollution, and mitigate climate change. Recycling correctly and reducing waste is an important tactic to help locally while thinking globally. This Recycling Day, we will discuss some vital tips for recycling and reducing waste. 

UpgRade and IncRease Your Impact 

We all know the three Rs: reduce, reuse, and recycle. But did you know that the Rs have been expanded to tell a more in-depth story about reducing waste? The five consumer Rs are refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle and rot – in order of most impactful on the waste stream. While recycling is a wonderful way to reduce waste, following the other four Rs will help even more. 

Athens adds one more R at the end; more on that later. Let’s go through the Rs you can employ as a consumer. 

Reuse a Fork on the Road

Consider the process of getting takeout and to-go plasticware when you order food to take home. The best option is to refuse the plasticware and use what you have at home. If you’re not going home and need a fork but not the spoon or knife, make sure to reduce what you take by leaving what you don’t need. Once you have finished using the fork, wash it, and leave it in your car. Do this so that the next time you need a fork, you can reuse it and avoid needing a new one. If you have excess food, and do not plan to eat it, compost it and use the rot to reduce your waste. 

Adopting and practicing the five Rs mindset will significantly impact your efforts to reduce waste daily. 

Refuse Contamination

Make sure that recyclables placed in the recycling container do not container liquids or food. We want to ensure that recyclables are not contaminated in the container or collection truck when serviced. Did you know, that one full soda bottle could ruin an entire recycle truck’s worth of recyclables? Don’t waste your own or anyone else’s hard work!

Reduce Two Item Plastics

Recycling is not as simple as some may think; many complex elements go into it. Any item that combines two or more different types of materials that you do not or cannot separate yourself is not recyclable. Multiple materials confuse the sensors at recycling facilities that sort everything. If the sensors do not recognize the material, then it will go to the landfill.

For example, chip bags are plastic on the outside and have a thin layer of metal inside; they are landfill bound. Envelops with thin plastic windows can be recycled if you separate the plastic from the paper. Some bottles will not be recycled if they have different types of materials wrapped around or inside. Make sure to be mindful of multiple materials and separate them if you can before recycling. 

Athens to the Rescue 

There is a sixth, post-consumer R to recycling: rescue. Many hauling and recycling companies, including Athens, take additional steps to rescue recyclables from consumer waste. Every company approaches the process differently. 

Athens constantly develops and deploys cutting-edge methods to rescue more materials from the landfill. We have built recycling infrastructure consisting of some of the best and most advanced facilities in the country. Athens’ Sun Valley materials recovery facility is a recognized innovator for using robotic and optical sorting equipment. Our American Organics composting facility uses industry-leading technology to process more food waste faster.  

All the steps described here help to close the loop in a recycling process that starts with you. As your zero waste partner, Athens is here with resources to help you recycle. Go here for a video on the advanced Athens facilities that sort through your waste, and for more helpful tips on recycling, visit athensservices.com.