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Earth Day is Coming! Recycling 101

So I definitely got the run down on how to recycle from Auntie Litter when I was in grade school, but as Earth Day approaches, it seems that my recycling skills could use a once over. Real Simple has broken the whole recycling thing down by making the ins and outs of recycling really, well, simple.

  • Collect newspapers in a paper grocery bag or in tied bundles, depending on your community’s guidelines, and set them out on pickup day. (It takes up to 75,000 trees to produce one Sunday edition of the New York Times.)
  • Don’t recycle wet cardboard. It can clog sorting machines. Throw it away to keep it from contaminating the rest of the load.
  • Don’t recycle bottle tops; they’re not made from the same plastic as recyclable bottles. But if you forget, don’t sweat it. They’ll be sorted down the line. (The energy saved by recycling one plastic bottle can power a computer for 25 minutes.)
  • Rinse cans, but crushing isn’t necessary. The aluminum can is the most recycled item in the United States, as well as the most valuable. It can be recycled again and again, and so efficiently that a can is regenerated and back on the shelf in as little as 60 days.
  • Don’t fret if you can’t get the lime out of the beer bottle or the last of the peanut butter from the jar. The recycler’s machinery will zap all contaminants. But do empty and rinse glass jars and containers.

Fit's Tip: Recycling does require a little more effort and energy on your part, but remember energy used means calories burned!

Join The Conversation
Butrfly4404 Butrfly4404 10 years
Thanks for the links, Fit! When I didn't recycle (not too long ago, just a couple years), I thought 'I don't use much anyway...' and 'it's too hard to recycle.' Now, my recycling bin fills up faster than my garbage and they're the same size. I recently set up a compost, too! I talk about this all the time, though...(I have weekly Green Challenges on my blog.) For people interested in finding recycling centers, try They can tell you where to recycle ANYTHING!
SU3 SU3 10 years
Great tips Fit - THANKS! :)
kayleigh83 kayleigh83 10 years
Thanks for the tips!! I'm glad to hear the one about not worrying about getting the lime out of the beer bottle!! I always have such a time with those! LOL
squiggles squiggles 10 years
While I was at college I recycled everything I could as often as possible. It was so easy because the entire campus was outfitted with recycling bins and places to take your recycling goods. Now that I've relocated however my town doesn't have recycling facilities, no home pick-up, and very few public places have recycling bins. I think we should all make it point to get in touch with our local and national government to get more recycling facilities and services available everywhere. People will do it more often if it's more convenient! :)
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