recycleAs consumers who care about the environment, PCS wants to emphasize the three R’s: reduce, reuse, and recycle.  The universal symbol for recycling has three green arrows that represent this message. The first arrow reminds us to reduce our consumption.  Less really is more and we often purchase unnecessary things that quickly become waste. The second arrow encourages us to reuse what we already have!  Too often in our society, our consumption is dictated by convenience.  It’s easier to buy another item than reuse what is already there.  Even something as simple as plastic sandwich bags can be washed, dried, and reused.  Clothing, working electronics, furniture, and more can be donated to a re-sell shop that will give your old things new life.  The last arrow represents recycling, which should be the final option after you have already reduced and reused.  Not everything can be recycled, which is why the first two R’s are so important to limiting what goes to the landfill. However, recycling can be variable and confusing, so read on to find out some information about proper recycling procedures. 

Last month, PCS was invited to participate in the Western Ohio Girl Scout’s Enviro-Olympics!  We led the girls in a hands-on environmental educational activity focusing on the right way to recycle.  There are lots of rules when it comes to recycling, and we are here to help you recycle right.  Many cities have convenient curb-side recycling programs that don’t require sorting. However, these bins are often contaminated by materials that are non-recyclable.  This means, even the items that can be recycled end up getting thrown out at the recycling facility.  It is critical to make sure your bins aren’t inadvertently contaminated, so our recycling rates continue to climb.  Before you fill up your bin this week, make sure you check out your municipalities list for what they accept.  Each location has different recycling regulations – some accept all plastics, some won’t accept caps or lids on containers, etc.  Here’s a list of general do’s and don’ts for recycling:

  • DO rinse out containers
  • DON’T assume all plastic is recyclable 
    • Check the bottom for a number inside the recycling symbol
    • If there’s no number, DON’T recycle it
    • Check your municipality’s accepted plastics
      • #1-#7 or #1-#5
      • Most always accept #1 and #2
  • DO recycle mail, computer paper, and newspaper
  • DON’T recycle toilet paper, paper towels, tissue paper, or construction paper
  • DO recycle all aluminum cans, after they’ve been rinsed
  • DON’T recycle Styrofoam or take-out containers and coffee cups made of foam
  • DO recycle all glass containers, after they’ve been rinsed
  • DON’T recycle soiled cardboard or greasy/ dirty materials
  • DO use other non-landfill options: Terra-cycling, reusing it yourself, composting, Goodwill, etc
  • DON’T recycle plastic bags
    • Take them back to a store
      • Walmart, Kroger, Meijer, and many others have plastic bag stations by the front doors
  • DO check out your recycling facility’s website for specific information on what they accept in their bins and what dates they accept other things (yard waste, electronics, furniture, etc.)
    • If you live in Wood County, they recently updated their permanent recycling station’s acceptable items list
    • Many hardware stores and electronics stores will accept old lightbulbs, batteries, and other items that can’t go in the trash

Make a commitment for your family to recycle the right way and reduce the amount of items you use that end up in the landfill.  Materials like aluminum, glass, and plastic take thousands of years to breakdown.  Most Americans throws away over 4 pounds of trash each day!  This trash can unintentionally end up in our waterways, threatening wildlife and damaging the aesthetic condition of our local streams, rivers, and Lake Erie.  We are facing a plastic pollution crisis and by recycling the right way, we can prevent making this problem worse.