“We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Seeing the big sticker on your recycling bin is a major slap in the face, the “you’ve been naughty and now all your neighbors know,” the “I was today years old when I learned how to properly recycle” feeling. With that being said, I then immediately went to The Colony recycling page to determine what we were doing wrong or could be doing differently. Let’s just say – my eyes were opened, they were opened VERY wide.
Let me start with a friendly reminder that each city has their own recycling regulations and you can easily find this by visiting your city’s website. There are some great basics that are very beneficial to saving the planet for our babies and some fun tips to repurpose and reuse recyclable items.
What can be recycled?
- Cardboard: You have to break this down. Do not put full boxes in your recycling bin
- Paper/ mail: I recommend still tearing mail so that you are not providing a way for your identity to be stolen (ION tv watcher here, ha)
- Metal cans: Must be rinsed and it is recommended that you remove the paper around the can
- Plastic bottles & jugs: Again, the same as the metal cans. I honestly had no idea that things had to be rinsed
- Newspaper/magazines: Do not recycle your newspaper in the bag, it must be separated
What can’t be recycled?
- Bags: Did you know this? I didn’t! Your grocery bags cannot be recycled, but tons of grocery stores will recycle them for you! This does not just include plastic bags though, it also includes cereal bags, plastic sleeves from the newspaper, toilet/paper towel packaging
- Styrofoam: Again, I had NO idea!
- Food: No food remnants should go into the recycling bin
- Batteries: You can chunk batteries in the trash or you can find a mail in recycling option
- Tree trimmings: Most towns have a scheduled recycle pick up day for tree trimmings and lawn work.
- Diapers: This one should be a no brainer – no one wants anything recycled from poop diapers – those can go in the trash or you can even consider making the switch to cloth diapers – I haven’t been able to make this change yet.
- Clothes: Most towns have a scheduled recycle pick up day for used clothing – who knew!
- Wood: Post on your local buy sell trade pages – people LOVE wood remnants for their crazy projects
- Toys: You can throw your old toys in the trash, but we recommend donating because all trash goes somewhere
- Used coffee cups/drink cups: GUILTY! This mama loves to toss her Starbucks cups into the recycling bin, but after doing the research I realized that they need to be rinsed and dried before being tossed in there
A few fun tips:
- Instead of dryer sheets, you can purchase fun dryer buddies (they can be infused with essential oils!)
- If you have leftover paint you can reach out to Habitat for Humanity – they are always looking for donations
- If you have leftover wood pieces from a project, Pinterest has some amazing ideas for scrap wood
- Create adorable planters out of empty soda bottles and cans – y’all, some of these ideas are so darn cute and you can involve the kids
- Make a bird feeder out of a used wine bottle, yup – that’s a thing!
Find more awesome ideas here on our Pinterest board: https://pin.it/1VSQTz1
Follow the above tips and our upcoming minimalist training to make the Earth better for future generations to come!
Kids Activity: Recycled Art Work
Watch Murray from Sesame Street create recycled artwork & then try it yourself! No better way to recycle, repurpose, and reuse your trash than creating masterpieces!
About the Author
Lauren is a mom of two kids, Wyatt (4) & Audrey (8 mo) … & the fur baby, also known as the OG, Luna Bella. (Oh & Mustard the fish). She is married to one heck of a guy, Troy, who she met in college. She has a Bachelors in Behavioral Analysis and a Masters in Social Work, currently she is navigating the life of a full time working mom as a hospice social worker for Centric, but has also juggled the jobs of stay at home mom & work at night mom. She is the red playgroup coordinator and a member of the yellow playgroup. She loves cold brew, crafting, reading, and margarita nights with the hubs.