Recycling Tips for Plastic Bags and Paper

Recycling programs have been started by many cities around the United States as well as around the world. Some places, like Toronto, Canada, for example, are very strict, to the point that misplaced waste results in a fine. Garbage is also collected only once a week to encourage people to produce less trash.

Back when I lived in New York City, we had a good recycling program. I remember, as a child, there would be separate baskets for paper, bottles, cans, and other trash. Recently, we moved to the Chicagoland area, where our home wasn’t under any municipal recycling program. Trash production shot up! It was quite shocking. I’d wish many times that there was a recycling basket, especially for paper and cans. Living there, we came up with neat innovations about how to recycle things.

Plastic bags: every time we went shopping, we would end up with a ton of plastic bags. These would usually be reused only once, fitted on to garbage cans. One way to recycle plastic bags is by not changing plastic bags in trash cans that are used for primarily dry waste, such as the one in the office or den. These can then be emptied into the one large kitchen bag. Another way is to reuse them as packing materials. Instead of breaking out lots of bubble wrap for more sturdy items you want to put in longer term storage, you can wrap it up in plastic bags by bunching them up and wrapping with them. This also provides a decent cushion. You could, of course, take your own bags when you go shopping to solve the problem all together.

Paper: It seems we throw out paper way too easily. If a sheet doesn’t print out properly, turn it over and put it back in the printer! For most non-formal/official needs, this is fine. No one is going to look at the back of the sheet anyway. Instead of using notepads near the phone, or on the fridge, use small blackboards. I once saw a really cool gadget called a boogie board at a Brookstone store. It uses LCD technology, so you can write on it, and erase it again with the push of a button!

Also, this is the digital age! Smartphones are very efficient note-keeping devices. Apps like EverNote shine in this category. Instead of leaving post-its, you can leave text messages(or emails, if you have an unlimited data plan on your phone). I can’t even remember how many times I check my phone every day!

Recycling paper is also excellent for crafts projects(if you have kids, or have an artistic bone). Paper also makes great packing material for cartons instead of styrofoam nuggets.

I hope you can find these tips useful. The possibilities are endless! I will try to post new tips time and again. Good luck with going green!