Bottles and Cans: How Do You Recycle?

People are constantly using things in their everyday lives that end up in a pile at a landfill after being dumped in the trash. Over time, this has caused the environment to suffer and has put pressure on natural resources, but everybody has a chance to do their part to make the world a better place. It may seem intimidating, but every little bit makes a difference. Not only does every bottle recycled can help to reduce greenhouse gases in the sky, but it also helps make the world cleaner.

Recycling 101

In today's world, people are using more bottles and cans than ever which means that people are using more plastic than ever as well. By recycling these bottles and cans, it means that new products get created, there's a reduction in energy use, and carbon emissions are curbed.

Here are a few things to think about when it comes to recycling:

What: Most bottles and cans used in everyday life can be recycled. The bottom of bottles are usually stamped with chasing arrows in a triangular design with a number in the middle from 1 to 7 in the middle. These numbers represent a code for what kind of plastic was used to make the bottle. If a bottle is stamped with a 3 or a 5 it cannot be recycled, but if it has any other number on the bottom that means that it's able to be recycled.

How: It can be easy to make recycling a routine part of life. All it takes is keeping an eye out for recycling bins when out and about, keeping a recycling bin at home, or saving up empty bottles to bring to a nearby location that trades empty bottles for cash.

Where: Everywhere. Recycling isn't limited to just one small area, every bottle and can recycled anywhere in the world makes a difference.

Why: In addition to saving energy, natural resources, and preventing carbon dioxide from being released into the air, bringing in bottles and cans can also be a way to make some extra money. There are recycling centers all over the place that will take empty bottles and exchange them for money.

Increasing Your Impact

Recycling is only one part of the solution, there are many other things both big and small that can be done to help the environment. Aside from recycling at home, it's also possible to buy recycled items which not only help reduce waste, but it also takes less energy to make packages out of recycled materials rather than creating them from scratch.

Walking, biking, or taking public transportation even just one day a week can be helpful for reducing greenhouse gas emissions; one mile of driving can create up to one pound of harmful emissions.

Conserving energy at home can not only cut down energy bills, but can also help the environment. Turning off lights in rooms that are going unused, unplugging electronics that aren't in use, replacing old appliances and equipment with newer and more energy-efficient models, and keeping the thermostat at a reduced setting are all little ways to make energy-efficient and green impacts at home.

Home isn't the only place to conserve energy, it can also be done at work by turning off the computer and equipment at night and when it doesn't have to be kept on. One can also be conservative about  how and what documents are printed; changing the settings to double-sided printing can reduce the amount of paper consumed.

Try using non-Volatile Organic Compound and non-toxic cleaning products, soaps, detergents, and paints at home. Not only does it prevent chemicals from entering the water supply, it improves air quality at home.

Planting a tree is also a great way to help increase impact; a single tree absorbs one ton of carbon dioxide over its lifetime. Growing fruit trees or planting a garden is also a healthy and sustainable option because it can cut down trips to the grocery store and composting scraps in a garden helps reduce landfill waste and helps gardens thrive.

More Information About Recycling

Find a Place to Recycle Near You

Plastics by the Numbers

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

What Happens to All That Plastic?

Recycle and Disposal Guide

Recycling Infographic: What are we wasting?

Plastics and Recycling Awareness Curriculum

Recycling and Waste Reduction

Waste Reduction

Recycling and Climate Protection

Top Ten Facts about Plastic Bags in our Oceans (PDF)

Frequently Asked Questions about Plastic Recycling

How To Recycle

What Can I Recycle?

Your Guide to Saving the Planet (PDF)

What Plastics Can Become

Why Should You Recycle?

Lifecycle of a Plastic Product

Eco Kids

Earth Facts - Recycling (PDF)

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