How to Step Up Your Recycling Game

“Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.”

– Fred Rogers, The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember
How to up your Recycling Game in your Journey to Go Zero Waste!
Pro Tip: Simplify your recycling process as much as you can to set yourself up for success. My amazing husband built these handy shelves in our garage to make our recycling bins easier to access!

Recycling is difficult and simple. It’s difficult because it requires a mental shift to take place in the individual, whereupon they begin to consciously retrain their hands to take items to the recycling bin instead of mindlessly heading to the trash. Yet it is the simplest change to make, and therefore it’s often the first recommendation for how to begin your eco-friendly journey.

Today I’m inviting you to evaluate your current recycling mindset, and then pledge to move on the next level. Continue one tiny green step at a time until you’ve reached Level 3: Master of Recycling!

Level 1 – Beginner Recycler: Great Job! You’ve got the green boxes and you get them out to the curb weekly (most of the time). You chuck in the plastic water bottles, big cardboard boxes, and aluminum cans, but only put minimal effort into it. If it’s easier to just throw something out instead of rinsing so it can be recycled, into the garbage it goes!

Level 2 – Conscientious Recycler: You’ve firmly decided to do this recycling thing right. If you’ve got a jar of old spaghetti sauce, there’s no question about it; you’re going to toss the sauce and then rinse the jar so it can be recycled. If it’s glass, plastic, cardboard, or aluminum, into the green box it goes. Gone are the days of just resorting to the trash to save a few minutes whenever you feel like it.

Level 3: Master of Recycling: Nothing slips through the cracks. Every piece of paper goes into the bin. Your city doesn’t collect some types of plastic curbside, but you start collecting them anyways so you can drop it off at another recycling location. You save your old CFL light bulbs and batteries to recycle at Home Depot. You research to find drop-off or mailing locations for textiles, electronics, and other household items. You start allowing recycling to shift the purchases you make – buying items made from recycled materials, and saying no to items that cannot be recycled.

Right now, I’m hovering somewhere between Level 2 and 3. Where are you on the scale? Leave a comment below to share your recycling journey!

*For my master list of companies that recycle household items that would typically end up in the landfill, read my Zero Waste Tip #9.

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