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Nature at Home: Recycle

It’s time to go to environmental school and learn the three R’s. No, we’re not talking about reading, writing, and arithmetic, but rather reduce, re-use, and recycle. In another Nature at Home segment we learned how reducing and re-using the things we buy, especially packaging, is one way we can help nature at home.

But the final step in the process is to be sure to recycle what we can of the things we use instead of throwing them away. Today we take a look at some common household items and find out what we should — and should not — throw in the recycle bin.

The first step is knowing what your local recycling program can handle, so if you’re not sure, call and ask. Many drop-off sites list what can or cannot be recycled there, so don’t leave something you know they don’t take…either throw it away or find someone who will recycle it. Take light bulbs for example…these incandescent bulbs can’t be recycled. But these newer compact florescent bulbs contain mercury and should always be recycled, easily done at stores like Lowes or Home Depot.

When it comes to plastics look for the number. Most recycling programs accept plastics numbered 1 through 7. If there’s not a number, then they have no way to sort it, so it’s better off thrown away. Also be sure to take the lids off your plastic bottles. Small lids often jam the machinery, so throw those away, but large lids with numbers can be recycled.

Boxes like these for pasta, frozen food, juice and cereal are made of paperboard and are usually recycled with cardboard. And when it comes to paper, recycling is a great way to get rid of all that junk mail. While cardboard egg cartons can be recycled, most programs can’t take the styrofoam ones…but don’t throw them away…take them to a Publix supermarket where you CAN recycle those styrofoam cartons.

In addition to aluminum and tin cans, pie plates, used aluminum foil, lids from jars, and aerosol cans are also recyclable. While things don’t need to be washed spotless before you throw them in the recycle bin, be sure to rinse them out to help keep pests away.

Remember, each recycling program is different, so be sure to check to see exactly what items yours accepts.

From show 3800