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Zywave_RecyclingDid you know that a recycled aluminum can returns to grocery store shelves in as little as 60 days? Yet, if that same item was thrown away, it would still be in the same form in 500 years. How about this fact: recycling every copy of a single Sunday edition of the New York Times would save 75,000 trees.

The process of recycling occurs when a product or material is turned into a usable raw form to make something else after its initial life is over. It is one of the easiest ways to conserve natural resources for future generations.

What Can Be Recycled?

Want to do your part to help the environment? Here’s a list of items that can typically be recycled. For the most comprehensive listing in your area, contact your local recycling center or waste management company.

  • Aluminum cans
  • Steel cans – from soup, veggies and coffee
  • Newspaper
  • Magazines and slick inserts
  • Corrugated cardboard – used for packaging and shipping
  • Paper and paperboard – cereal boxes, egg cartons and pre-packaged food boxes
  • Plastic – milk jugs, shampoo bottles, vitamin bottles, soda containers and detergent bottles
    • Most centers only collect PETE 1 and HDPE 2 items (labeled on the bottom of the container)
    • Remove the cap of plastic containers because it is made of a different material
  • Glass – wine bottles, pickle jars and jelly jars
    • Some centers only collect certain colors of glass, so check before recycling

In addition to recycling items at home and at work, you can also purchase items made from recycled materials. Look for the “recycled” symbol while shopping for products such as paper towels, wrapping paper, garden hoses, garbage cans, paint, furniture, ink cartridges, shoes, wallpaper and crayons.

Lighten Your Trash Load

Another way to protect the environment is to reduce the amount of trash you throw away. Consider the following recommendations to cut down on the amount you deem unusable:

  • Buy products that come in less packaging
  • Buy in bulk (this will save you money too)
  • Get your bills and statements e-mailed to you and pay them online (this will save on postage)
  • Do not use disposable items such as paper plates and cups
  • Buy eggs in paperboard containers instead of Styrofoam
  • Buy fresh fruits versus canned
  • Buy products that come in refillable containers
  • Use reusable gift bags versus wrapping paper
  • Bring your own cloth or mesh bag to the store instead of selecting paper or plastic
  • Do not bag grass clippings; leave them on the lawn
  • Stop unwanted junk mail by contacting The Direct Marketing Association at www.the-dma.org.