Of course, recycling is an excellent thing to do: it means we can reuse waste that otherwise would have been trashed, it helps reduce carbon emissions and means we don’t use as many natural resources. But a little bit of time and care needs to go into the recycling process, or else any benefits of doing it could well be lost.
Firstly, it’s important to make sure you’re using the right recycling bin. Often people have different coloured bins for different items of recycling and, increasingly, segmented bins are popping up in shopping centres and other public places, where people are encouraged to recycle plastic, cans and paper in the appropriate bin compartment. This is all well and good, but if someone comes along with half a burger and some leftover chips from a fast food emporium and doesn’t look at which bin is which, there’s a good chance the rubbish will end up in the wrong bin.
This then complicates the recycling process as it takes longer to clean out the inappropriate waste before the recyclable components can be properly processed. This, however, can be easily avoided simply by taking a couple of extra seconds to make sure you’re putting your waste into the right receptacle.
For home use or use in buildings such as offices and schools, it’s a good idea to buy a set of easily identifiable recycling bins that make it obvious what should and shouldn’t be placed in each bin. Particularly in schools, if you’re teaching children about proper waste disposal, it can be a good idea to have images on each bin to make it extra clear what’s what. You can also encourage recycling by putting the regular rubbish bin at a greater distance away from the rest so people will think about recycling before simply trashing the waste.
Another really important waste item you need to be sure goes in the right bin is the cigarette. It’s quite obvious, but you need to be sure these definitely don’t end up in the paper bin as you could end up with a fire hazard on your hands. Cigarette bins should be clearly labelled and accessible to smokers. You should also be sure that batteries don’t end up in the regular waste that goes to landfill as they can leak acid, which is majorly harmful to the environment. Always keep a clearly labelled battery bin specifically for them and recycle them regularly.
Most of this is common sense, but it pays to be aware of the correct procedures for waste disposal to make sure you don’t end up with a calamity on your hands.