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How To Recycle (Properly): 5 Easy Tips

Mandy Carr Nov 03, 2023

Recycling is a great way to do your part for the environment, and it has many benefits, such as reducing waste, saving energy, and conserving natural resources. But it’s not just about throwing everything into the recycling and hoping for the best, it’s about making sure you’re recycling the right materials.

And, with National Recycling Day on November 15, you can live like every day is Recycling Day by learning what can be recycled, what can’t, and how you can make a difference with this guide on how to recycle.


Five Recycling Tips


1. Educate Yourself & Others On What Can Be Recycled

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, in the curbside collection bin, you can recycle cardboard, paper, food boxes, glass, and plastic bottles, among other things — so that means broken down boxes, soda cans, and bottles to name a few. It’s advised you rinse out any of your containers so they’re clean when they go into the recycling bin. 

Don’t throw your recycling in the bin in a plastic bag. The recycling waste needs to be emptied directly in the bins as this makes it easier for it to be sorted and processed.

Other items you can recycle but can’t go into your collection bin include plastic bags and wraps—this is because they get tangled in recycling machinery and often end up just thrown in the trash anyway, old batteries, electronics, and textiles. You’ll need to find local recycling options for these such as your local grocery store, clothing store, or other local drop-off points. If you’re not sure about what to recycle, Recycle Coach has some helpful advice and tips. 


2. Find a Fabric Recycling Place Near You

Before you search for a textile recycling drop-off near you, you could donate your old clothes, especially if they are still in good condition. Check with charity and thrift stores to give your garments a new home. 

But, if those leggings have holes in them or it’s a dress or shirt you’ve totally worn out, then it’s best to recycle them. And, recycling fabric does give it a new lease of life—as demonstrated by the Eco Mesh Pack, which was made with recycled materials. Look for a drop-off clothes recycling bin in any of your local stores or do an online search to find your nearest one.


3. How To Recycle Old Electronics 

You can recycle a variety of electronics, from computers to TVs, old cords and cables, printers, cameras, video game consoles, and more. Again, if your electronics are in good condition, you can donate them to your local charity shop—just imagine someone else playing that video you loved so much. For all your old electrical items that have seen better days, find a spot that accepts them for recycling. 


4. Create a Recycling Plan for Your Dorm or House 

If you live in a dorm or an apartment building, find out where the collection point is and what they recycle. It’s likely the standard household stuff of plastics and paper, but it’s good to make sure. And, if you live on the campus, there’s likely a clear collection point, but you could also work with the building manager to make sure everyone in your dorm room knows where to go and what can be recycled. It’s a great way to build leadership skills. Set up garbage cans in your home to collect before you take them to the recycling bin. 

You can recycle electronics and textiles bi-annually, where everyone does an inventory of their clothes and electronics. You can donate or recycle on those designated dates. Have fun with this and do little recycling parties throughout the year. You can even use your Restore Pack to transport them.

You could also start composting your food leftovers. Check on your local government websites to see where the collection bins are or join a composting service. This is a great option to make your holidays more sustainable and an easy way to dispose of all those pizza boxes.


5. Host a Recycling Event

A great way to jump-start your recycling is to host an event. There are various types of events that you can hold, for example, you could have a recycling collection drive. This is where people in your dorm or community can bring in items to be recycled. Make sure to let them know what items you are accepting. You could have a theme, such as electronics or textiles since those take more effort to recycle. And make sure you have some form of transportation to take the items to your local drop-off point.

Try hosting a litter clean-up event. Get your friends or community together to clean up your neighborhood or nature reserves. Too many people still drop their trash on the ground, and this is a great way to clean your community and be proud of where you live.

Some people also organize their community to take another form of transport to work or school for the day. You could take public transport if you usually drive or you could bike to work. It’s even more fun if you do this as a group.

Use social media and community center boards to raise awareness of your events. 

Lastly, you could hold an event to educate your community on what can be recycled and where to take it. Paying it forward and passing the information on is the best way to make sure more people feel inspired to recycle more effectively and spread the word to their communities too.

Here are even more ideas of how to organize more sustainability events for your school.