6 Ways to Up Your Recycling Game

By Andrea Davis on January 15, 2021

Want to be a better recycler? Consider these tips.

  1. Think before you buy. The time to think about recycling is while you’re shopping. If you don’t want to end up with a bunch of packaging you can’t recycle, don’t buy it in the first place. If you’re deciding between comparable products, choose the one with packaging that can most easily be recycled or, better yet, not much packaging at all.
  2. Read the guidelines carefully and frequently. What’s accepted in recycling collection can vary from place to place. While there are some recycling rules that are pretty much universal, it’s critical to study the guidelines for your recycler. And don’t just look at them once. It’s important to revisit these guidelines as they can change from time to time, and even if they don’t, it’s still useful to have a refresher. View Granger’s curbside recycling guidelines here.
  3. Buy recycled. A lot of people complain that they can’t recycle all the things they want to recycle. But just like with anything else, recycling is, to a certain extent, driven by demand. That means when you buy products made from recycled material, you’re helping support the whole process by contributing to the market for recycled goods.
  4. Make “clean and empty” your mantra. Be sure to empty any leftover contents from your recyclables and give them a rinse before throwing them in that recycling cart. For more on cleaning recyclables, read our blog post.
  5. Keep it simple. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. If you’re not sure about something, don’t recycle it. Stick to those basic things you know you can recycle. For a list of materials that can usually be recycled anywhere, read our blog post.
  6. Don’t recycle. Yes, we said that. Don’t consider a full recycling cart your goal. Recycling can be very beneficial, but it’s not a panacea. The answer isn’t to just use as much as we want of everything and throw what’s left in our recycling. Taking a balanced approach to environmental responsibility by using those other Rs—reduce and reuse—is a much better idea.
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