Do You Recycle

Recycling: How to Get Started | Waste-free Living with HarassedMom

Recycling sounds pretty simple – you separate recyclable items and send them off to be recycled!

But the reality is not always so easy or as simple. Even if you do send your items to be recycled – are they are actually recyclable? And are they being properly recycled?

Let’s take a quick look at some facts about recycling that may surprise you.

  • South Africa sends around 95 million tonnes of waste to its 826 landfill sites and less than 40% of the materials are recycled.
  • South Africa produces 65 million tonnes of hazardous waste, of which only 6% is recycled.
  • The average recycling rate for plastics in South Africa exceeds 43%, which is higher than the 31% figure for Europe.

Before you even start recycling it is important to understand what can be recycled – not all paper and plastic is created equal and not all of it can actually be recycled. You can start by learning the different plastic codes.

Recycling doesn’t necessarily mean sending items to a recycling plant. You can recycle items into something new.

For example:

  • Tins make cool pen holders or pots for plants.
  • Glass jars can be used for so many different things.
  • 2l soda bottles can be used as eco-bricks.
  • Egg cartons are great for seedlings.

There is so much negative stigma attached to these pickers but let’s be real, no one wants to scratch through someone else’s trash just be able to buy food for your family. Make it easy for them and separate your waste so they don’t have to dig through all your rubbish.

The key to successful recycling is to find what works for you and make it as simple as possible. Start with something that is simple and easy and then when you are comfortable, add another item.

Ultimately though it is better to reduce than to recycle – especially when it comes to plastic items. 

Do you recycle?

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10 Responses

  1. Yessssss! Loving these eco friendly tips and articles of yours with a focus on our planet. We do recycle and will be doing more once we move.

  2. We try to recycle as much as possible. It is nice to learn about the process behind it. It is interesting how diff recycling programs can vary so much.

  3. We recycle a lot here. But we have mixed bins so it’s easy to just toss it all in one bin and set it at the street once per week for pickup. I also emailed the recycling company when we moved here a few years ago to learn exactly what we can and can’t recycle here.

  4. We always try to recycle when we can. It is interesting to learn some more about recycling and how things are different depending on where you live. We have mixed recycling, where all types of recyclables go into one bin.

  5. I currently live in a country where recycling is just an option. Of course, we make a conscious effort to minimise our waste production and, whenever possible, reuse and recycle items, but I do wish it would be more encouraged here.

  6. We sort our recycling but so many things look like they could be recycled, but they cannot! It is much better to re-use then recycle, as you can ensure the items aren’t just slowly rotting away somewhere.

  7. I am much better at recycling ever since getting our home in Pennsylvania as they are big on it. We get two trash cans… one for regular garbage and another for recyclables. It is once a week… so we put everything we can in the recycling can to ensure we have enough room and I am actually loving it now that I have gotten the hang of it and know what can be and what cannot be recycled.

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