But where do you start? Here are 10 easy ways to recycle at home:
For your home office -
- Buy recycled paper and, whenever possible, print on both sides. By recycling one ton of paper, you can save 17 trees, almost 7,000 gallons of water, and more than three cubic yards of landfill space.
- Recycle your outdated technology. According to EPA, Americans throw out two million tons of e-waste each year. Avoid adding to that waste by recycling your old technology. Check with your county office for special "recycling days" where the county will take old computers, tvs, and other items that don't belong in landfills. Check with your favorite charity too. Numerous not-for-profit organizations (like the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens) have old cell phone collection drives to raise funds and preserve the planet. Also, a number of service providers, such as Apple and Sprint will take back used electronics for recycling or resale.
- Recycle your empty ink and toner cartridges. Almost eight cartridges are thrown out in the United States every second of every day. That's almost 700,000 cartridges per day. Your neighborhood Staples, Office Max, and Office Depot will all take back used toner cartridges, often providing reward programs as an incentive for recycling.
- Buy remanufactured ink and toner cartridges. Each remanufactured cartridge keeps approximately 2.5 pounds of metal and plastic out of landfills and saves about a half gallon of oil.
In the main house -
- Make recycling bins readily available and convenient to use. Sometimes the convenience factor is all that is needed to encourage family members to participate in recycling. Make sure to educate your family on what is and is not recyclable too! Guidelines for St. Johns County can be found here on the Advanced Disposal website.
- Recycle old newspapers and magazines. Some libraries will take your old magazine and make them available to other library patrons. Also, check with your child’s school. Many St. Johns and Duval County teachers would love to have the magazines to put to a variety of good uses (art, current events, etc.).
While out -
- Look for the recycled option in all the products you buy. It's not just paper that is recycled. Everything from bags to pens to clothing can be made from recycled materials. Check out this link for product ideas.
- Buy rechargeable batteries. It takes 1,000 regular batteries to equal the lifespan of one rechargeable battery. When you are discarding your batteries, make sure you dispose of them properly.
- Consider purchasing a reusable coffee mug and have your favorite barista fill your cup up with your morning brew. Starbucks will give a small discount for bringing your own mug. Check with your local shops too. They often have discounts or bonuses that aren’t well advertised for bringing your own cup. Also, if you know you’re headed out to a restaurant with the hope of leftovers, consider bringing your own to-go container. Styrofoam NEVER decomposes, it will stay in our landfills forever! Don’t forget – leave the plastic bag behind too. Bring your own re-usable bags for taking leftovers or packing groceries.