BY JODIE TWEED
Recycling at home takes minimal time and effort, yet many homeowners are holdouts on joining the growing recycling movement.
In Crow Wing County, residents in three communities — Brainerd, Baxter and Breezy Point — are served by residential curbside recycling programs at least monthly, according to the Crow Wing County Land Services 2012 recycling report. Several area garbage haulers offer their own recycling programs and services for both their residential and commercial customers.
So what can you do to implement a recycling program in your own home? Here are nine tips that may help you get started and stick to it:
Tip No. 1:
Buy one large
Use one large plastic bin for your recycling. If your garbage hauler doesn’t offer recycling services or provide you with a recycling bin, create your own.
Most area recycling centers and garbage haulers use a recycling program called “comingling,” which allows you to put all your recycling in one large container without sorting. The sorting is accomplished at the recycling center, which makes it easier for homeowners.
Tip No. 2:
Develop a home
If your recycling is picked up monthly, you may want a few storage bins to sort your recycling until pickup. Label each bin accordingly, and place them in your home or garage where you know family members will more likely use them.
You’ll need secured lids on your bins if they are stored outside to keep animals and other pests away.
Tip No. 3:
No plastic or paper
Don’t use plastic or paper bags to store recycling. They can leak or rip.
Tip No. 4:
Crush bottles and jugs
Crush recyclable water bottles and milk jugs, then place the cap back on to conserve space in your recycling bin, said Jane Edmundson, a representative of Nisswa Sanitation.
Edmundson said in the past, the lids had to be removed from recyclable bottles, but that is no longer the case.
Tip No. 5:
Rinse out your recyclable containers, added Edmundson. This prevents flies and other pests in your recycling bin and at the recycling center.
Tip No. 6:
Think about the types of products you buy and how you can reduce the amount of trash created in your home.
Instead of buying bottled water, use a water filter and drink tap water instead. Buy large beverage containers, rather than single servings. Use reusable shopping bags instead of plastic bags at the grocery store.
Small lifestyle changes can make a big environmental impact.
Tip No. 7:
Buy recycled products
Buy recycled products or products packaged in recycled materials. There are so many products today that are made of recycled materials, from greeting cards to toys to tennis shoes.
Tip No. 8:
Upcycle your trash
Consider upcycling your trash. Check with your child’s school or day care to find out what types of materials they need. Toilet and paper towel rolls can be used for craft projects.
Tip. No. 9:
Don’t want it anymore? Freecycle it. Give away any useful products or goods you no longer want or use for free.
This keeps items out of the landfill and in the hands of someone who wants it. Visit freecycle.org for more information.
(Jodie Tweed is a freelance writer who lives in Pequot Lakes with her husband and three daughters.)