Recycling: A Lifestyle Choice
It's a choice that affects not only your household but the community at large. Just putting your plastic items in the recycling bin won't save the planet.
Making slight changes to the way you process your household waste can go a long way. At my house, we not only put our plastic in the recycling bin, we separate the plastic by their "Resin Identification Codes". Here are the 7 codes:
- Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET, PETE) - Properties include clarity, strength, toughness, barrier to gas and moisture, resistance to heat.
- High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) - Properties include stiffness, strength, toughness, resistance to chemicals and moisture, permeability to gas, ease of processing, and ease of forming.
- Vinyl (Polyvinyl Chloride or PVC) - Properties include versatility, clarity, ease of blending, strength, toughness, resistance to grease, oil and chemicals.
- Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) - Properties include ease of processing, strength, toughness, flexibility, ease of sealing, barrier to moisture.
- Polypropylene (PP) - Properties include strength, toughness, resistance to heat, chemicals, grease and oil, versatile, barrier to moisture.
- Polystyrene (PS) - Properties include versatility, insulation, clarity, easily formed
- Other - Use of this resin identification code indicates that the plastic product is made with a resin other than the six listed above, or is made of more than one resin listed above, and used in a multi-layer combination. Properties are dependent on resin or combination of resins
Stay tuned to Go-GLR.com as we will cover exactly how you can help recycle based on these codes in another article.
Recycling glass is another sore spot in the recycling world. For a recycler, the cost effectiveness of their operation is consistently challenged by separation technology. When your household takes separation of your waste stream seriously, recyclers like Great Lakes Recycling can actually stay in business and help the planet. The biggest problem in glass recycling is separating the glass containers. With the highest cost in glass recycling being the separation of the containers by color, 99% of recyclers can't afford the equipment to process bulk glass (Electro-optical sorting). the cost of labor to do the separation manually removes the ability for those recyclers to recycle glass at all. Hence, even though you think that the glass you put in the curbside recycling bin is making a difference. Most of those containers end up in landfills. By implementing colored glass bins in your garage and saving them up until the end of the year, you can bring them directly to a recycler. The recycler can then make sure the materials are handled properly and actually see new life in new products.
Metal recycling is where you as a consumer can really make a difference. Whether it's an old washer and dryer or the motor from your old pool pump, metal recycling provides the largest number of options for recyclers, plus on most metal items recyclers will actually pay you non-taxable cash for those items. Separation is easier due to standard metal properties, such as magnetism in iron based metals, recyclers can use less expensive separation techniques to process and improve the quality of the materials. Thus, improving the profitability of processing those waste streams. Remember, if your local recycler can't make a profit, they can't stay in business.
It's all about changing the way you live. Take some time to research how you really take control of your personal household waste stream and the entire planet will benefit. Make sure that you keep coming back to check out new articles and content from Great Lakes Recycling as we can help you and your community develop simple, easy to set up programs for your household. Thanks for recycling. It's everyone's responsibility.