National Recycling Day: November 15


In 2018, Americans produced a total of 292.4 million tons of trash. 146.1 million tons of the trash produced ended up in landfills. The amount of waste Americans produce continues to rise each year. On November 15th, it's important for us to reflect on how we could change our habits to celebrate national recycling day. Here are a few tips on how we could reduce, reuse, and recycle!

Eco-Bricks

Eco-bricks are plastic bottles that you pack in with clear plastic, styrofoam, bags, packaging, and straws to the point where the plastic bottle becomes a solid brick. It's best to use a stick to press the items down into the bottle to make sure it's secure. Once you are done with your filled up bottles, you could head over to the Eco-Bricks website to find a center near you to drop them off for collection. Eco-bricks are often used as short-term bricks for furniture, gardens, play parks, and different structures.

Composting

Composting food scraps and organic matter at home is another practice everyone could participate in. Matter that should never be collected for compost include pet waste, plastic, colored paper, and diseased plants. Collected decomposed organic matter could help fuel up organisms to enrich the soil of gardens. Organisms like worms and sowbugs help create fertile soil great for planting.



Make Paper

For those looking to challenge themselves with more complex practices, creating handmade paper from scrap materials is a fun practice to try out as well. In order to do this you will need:

  • water

  • scrap paper

  • a storage tub

  • a blender

  • a bath towel

  • a frame deckle (see this website for information on how to create one)

  • a sponge

Reusable and Bamboo Products

An easy and cost-efficient way to stay resourceful is to use reusable products as much as possible! Trade-in plastic bags for paper or cloth fabric bags when grocery shopping. Use refillable water bottles instead of throw-away plastic bottles. Ditch plastic straws by buying metal reusable straws instead.


There are many different types of biodegradable options for everyday items we use. Bamboo is a common material used to replace plastic in products. Besides metal straws, paper and bamboo straws are also a great alternative for plastic straws. There are also bamboo toothbrushes, bamboo paper cups, bamboo kitchen utensils, etc. Bamboo is a great replacement for plastic because of its' enhanced durability and environmental friendliness compared to regular paper products.


Types of Plastics

As we strive to recycle more, it's important to understand recycling symbols for plastic materials. Many plastics are not accepted by residential recycling systems but there are some acceptable materials. There are also some plastics that you should avoid as much as possible.

Babcock, May. “Here's How to Make Handmade Paper from Recycled Materials.”

Paperslurry, 6 Aug. 2020, https://www.paperslurry.com/2014/05/19/how-to-

make-handmade-paper-from-recycled-materials/.


“Guide to Bamboo Packaging.” Good Start Packaging, URL.


Howard, Brian Clark. “You Might Be Recycling Wrong - Here's Everything You Need

to Know about Recycling Symbols.” Good Housekeeping, Good

Housekeeping, 30 Apr. 2021,

https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/g804/recycling-symbols-plastics-

460321/.


Hu, Shelia. “Composting 101.” NRDC, 20 July 2020,

https://www.nrdc.org/stories/composting-101.


“National Overview: Facts and Figures on Materials, Wastes, and Recycling.” EPA,

Environmental Protection Agency, Mar. 2020, https://www.epa.gov/facts-and-

figures-about-materials-waste-and-recycling/national-overview-facts-and-

figures-materials#NationalPicture.

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