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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle *

The most effective way to reduce waste is to not create it in the first place. Making a new product requires a lot of materials and energy: raw materials must be extracted from the earth, and the product must be fabricated and then transported to wherever it will be sold. As a result, reduction and reuse are the most effective ways you can save natural resources, protect the environment, and save money.

Benefits of Reducing and Reusing:
* Prevents pollution caused by reducing the need to harvest new raw materials;
* Saves energy;
* Reduces greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change;
* Helps sustain the environment for future generations;
* Saves money;
* Reduces the amount of waste that will need to be recycled or sent to landfills and incinerators;
* Allows products to be used to their fullest extent.

Ideas on How to Reduce and Reuse
* Buy used. You can find everything from clothes to building materials at specialized reuse centers and consignment shops. Often, used items are less expensive and just as good as new.
* Look for products that use less packaging. When manufacturers make their products with less packaging, they use less raw material. This reduces waste and costs. These extra savings can be passed along to the consumer. Buying in bulk, for example, can reduce packaging and save money.
* Buy reusable over disposable items. Look for items that can be reused; the little things can add up. For example, you can bring your own silverware and cup to work, rather than using disposable items.
* Maintain and repair products, like clothing, tires, and appliances, so that they won't have to be thrown out and replaced as frequently.
* Borrow, rent, or share items that are used infrequently, like party decorations, tools, or furniture.


One person's trash is another person's treasure. Instead of discarding unwanted appliances, tools, or clothes, try selling or donating them. Not only will you be reducing waste, you'll be helping others. Local churches, community centers, thrift stores, schools, and nonprofit organizations may accept a variety of donated items, including used books, working electronics, and unneeded furniture.
Benefits of Donation
* Prevents usable goods from going into landfills
* Helps your community and those in need
* Tax benefits may be available

Steps to Recycling Materials

Recycling includes the three steps below, which create a continuous loop, represented by the familiar recycling symbol.

Step 1: Collection and Processing

There are several methods for collecting recyclables, including curbside collection, drop-off centers, and deposit or refund programs.

Paper makes up nearly 30 percent of all wastes Americans throw away each year, more than any other material. Americans recycled about 63 percent of the paper they used in 2010. This recovered paper is used to make new paper products, saving trees and other natural resources. Most community or office recycling programs accept paper and paper products. 
Check what your community or office program accepts before you put it in the bin. When you go shopping, look for products that are made from recycled paper

Some batteries contain heavy metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium, and nickel; therefore, many communities do not allow them to be thrown away with your regular trash. Recycling is always the best option for disposing of used batteries.

Lead-Acid Car Batteries can be returned to almost any store that sells car batteries. The lead and plastics from the batteries can then be recycled and used to manufacture new products. About 96 percent of lead-acid car batteries are recycled.
Dry-Cell Batteries are used in a variety of electronics and include alkaline and carbon zinc (9-volt, D, C, AA, AAA), mercuric-oxide (button, some cylindrical and rectangular), silver-oxide and zinc-air (button), and lithium (9-volt, C, AA, coin, button, rechargeable) batteries. Look for in-store recycling bins or community collection events to dispose of these batteries.


Americans generated 31 million tons of plastics in 2010, about 12 percent of the waste stream. Only eight percent of plastics were recycled in 2010. Some types of plastics are recycled much more than others. Most community recycling programs accept some, but not all, types of plastics. Look for products made from recycled plastic materials. Learn more about plastic recycling. 
What do the symbols mean on the bottom of plastic bottles and containers? These symbols were created by plastic manufacturers to help people identify the kind of plastic resin used to make the container. This can help you determine if the container can be accepted by your local recycling program. The resin number is contained in a triangle, which looks very similar to the recycling symbol, but this does not necessarily mean it can be collected for recycling in your community.

Glass, especially glass food and beverage containers, can be recycled over and over again. Americans generated 11.5 million tons of glass in 2010, about 27 percent of which was recovered for recycling. Making new glass from recycled glass is typically cheaper than using raw materials. Most curbside community recycling programs accept different glass colors and types mixed together, and then glass is sorted at the recovery facility. Check with your local program to see if you need to separate your glass or if it can be mixed together.


Used Oil
Never dump your used motor oil down the drain — the used oil from one oil change can contaminate one million gallons of fresh water. By recycling your used oil you not only help keep our water supply clean, but help reduce American dependence on foreign oil. It takes 42 gallons of crude oil, but only one gallon of used oil, to produce 2.5 quarts of new motor oil. Many garages and auto-supply stores that sell motor oil also accept oil for recycling

Household Hazardous Waste
Leftover household products that contain corrosive, toxic, ignitable, or reactive ingredients are considered to be household hazardous waste (HHW). Products such as paints, cleaners, oils, batteries, and pesticides that contain potentially hazardous ingredients require special care when you dispose of them. HHW may be dangerous to people or bad for the environment if poured down the drain, dumped on the ground, or thrown out with regular trash.

What you can do:
* Try to reduce your purchases of these products and look for alternative, non-hazardous products.
* When you do need to dispose of these products, look for special collection events in your community or permanent collection centers. Sometimes businesses that sell these products will also accept them for recycling.
* If you have to dispose of HHW, first check with your local waste management agency to see what rules apply in your community.


Disease-carrying pests such as rodents may live in tire piles. Tire piles can also catch on fire. Most garages are required to accept and recycle your used tires when you have new ones installed. You may be able to return used tires to either a tire retailer or a local recycling facility that accepts tires. Some communities will hold collection events for used tires

After collection, recyclables are sent to a recovery facility to be sorted, cleaned, and processed into materials that can be used in manufacturing. Recyclables are bought and sold just like raw materials would be, and prices go up and down depending on supply and demand in the United States and the world.

Step 2: Manufacturing
More and more of today's products are being manufactured with recycled content. Common household items that contain recycled materials include:
* newspapers and paper towels;
* aluminum, plastic, and glass soft drink containers;
* steel cans; and
* plastic laundry detergent bottles.

Recycled materials are also used in new ways such as recovered glass in asphalt to pave roads or recovered plastic in carpeting and park benches.

Step 3. Purchasing New Products Made From Recycled Materials

    By buying new products made from recycled materials you help close the recycling loop. There are thousands of products that contain recycled content. When you go shopping, look for:
* Products that can be easily recycled, and 
* Products that contain recycled content. 

Here are some of the terms used:
 *         Recycled-content product.
 This means the product was manufactured with recycled materials, either collected from a recycling program or from waste recovered during the normal manufacturing process. Sometimes the label will tell you how much of the content was from recycled materials. 
*         Postconsumer content. 
This is very similar to recycled content, but the material comes only from recyclables collected from consumers or businesses through a recycling program.
 *         Recyclable product. 
These are products that can be collected, processed and manufactured into new products after they have been used. These products do not necessarily contain recycled materials. Remember not all kinds of recyclables may be collected in your community so be sure to check with your local recycling program before you buy.
Some of the common products you can find that can be made with recycled content include:
* Aluminum cans
* Car bumpers
* Carpeting
* Cereal boxes
* Comic books
* Egg cartons
* Glass containers
* Laundry detergent bottles
* Motor oil
* Nails
* Newspapers
* Paper towels
* Steel products
* Trash bags
Source: internet