Jul 31, 2009 05:00PM
● By Wendy Sipple
The US Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 75 percent of American waste is recyclable.
Many of us have already made the commitment to toss our soda cans and water bottles into the recycling bin, but so much more of our trash can find another life outside the landfill.
Logistically, homeowners need recycling to be convenient. Amy Ellison, a passionate recycler from El Dorado Hills, keeps two “garbage” cans in her kitchen to ensure keeping a “green” home stays simple. “One can has a lid on it and that is for plain old garbage – things that can’t be recycled. Usually these things have food all over them, so the lid is to keep our dogs out,” she explains.
“Next to it is an open trash can where we can conveniently drop anything to be recycled - envelopes, tin cans, jars, magazines, etc. I had to make it easy in order to inspire my husband to recycle, too.”
All containers must be rinsed clean, but there is no need to remove labels. Check the bottom of all plastic containers – shampoo bottles, wide-mouth food containers, even toys. Plastics are coded with a number, one through seven, within a triangle.
These number codes point to the resins included in the production of the container. Items coded with a 1, 2, 5, or 6 are most commonly accepted through curbside recycling.
What’s Not Recyclable?
Most people are surprised to learn that plastic bottle caps aren’t recyclable. Made from a different kind of plastic, the melting point is much higher than the bottle it accompanies. Waste management officials suggest just throwing those away in the regular trash.
Other no-nos: pizza boxes, frozen food boxes, gift wrap, tissue paper, napkins, wet paper, and Post-its. Plastic grocery bags can also be problematic depending on your curbside pickup rules. A better bet? Bring your own reusable grocery bag or return plastic ones to the store for reuse.
Of course, one of the best ways to limit our contribution to landfills is to reduce the number of containers we buy. If everyone can take a few steps to protect our environment, it’ll be around a lot longer for all to enjoy. •
Discarded electronics can pose a serious threat to our environment. As Ed Cancilla, president of Argosy E-Cycling in Shingle Springs explains, “E-waste contains harmful chemicals including lead. When these products enter the landfills, the chemicals can seep into water supplies, which can lead to cancers and nervous system diseases.” Instead, many e-cycle locations exist to collect old TVs, computers, game consoles, DVDs, stereos and cell phones. Some e-cycle events are also linked to charitable organizations. Check your local school, church, or city for yearly e-cycling events and drop-offs.
El Dorado Disposal
City of Folsom Door-to-Door Collection Program
Snowline Hospital Thrift Store
Metals Reclamation Services
El Dorado Hills, 408-723-8528
City of Roseville Door-to-Door Collection Program
Goodwill Industries –
Rocklin and Roseville
Sims Recycling Solutions
Whole Foods Market-Roseville
Free E-waste Collection Day!
October 3; 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
The Scoop on Compost
Want to take recycling to the next level? Repurpose organic waste by composting. Annette Batchelor of Newcastle has been composting for nearly 20 years. “It’s a wonderful way to amend the soil for my garden, and it’s free! I hate to waste ‘good stuff’ in the trash when it can be useful somewhere else,” she says. Batchelor uses one can to gather food scraps in the kitchen before removing the waste to a larger duel composter in the backyard. All plant-based waste, including fruits and vegetables can be composted, as well as clean paper, dryer and vacuum lint, eggshells, tea bags, fireplace ashes, nutshells and more. Visit California’s Integrated Waste Management Board’s Web site at ciwmb.ca.gov/organics/compostmulch, for more information.