The do’s and don’ts of reycling


Jordan Brownhill

Fossil gives students the opportunity to recycle by putting recycling bins in the halls.

Jordan Brownhill, Staff Writer

Recycling is something you have probably been advised to do many times, but you may not have looked into what happens when you recycle. As has been pointed out time and time again, recycling is good for the environment. But often the reasoning behind recycling is forgotten, which not only takes away from its importance, but also leads to mistakes that cause recycling to not be as effective.

Before anything else, you should be aware of why you should be trying to recycle. The most obvious reason is that it prevents an excessive amount of waste going to landfills. While less waste is always a good thing, there is even more to it than simply reducing amounts of trash.

When certain items go to landfills, they can release toxic chemicals into the ground, which can pollute groundwater. They can also release methane into the air, which contributes to global warming and climate change. Electronic devices that get thrown away are big culprits of this crime, however, it is possible to recycle electronics if you know how!

While recycling is definitely easier when you have a service that comes directly to your house, that does not mean it is impossible to recycle if you do not. Recycling dumps are a great way to do just that. Once you sort through your different kinds of recyclables (which is not as difficult as it may seem), you simply take your recyclables to the recycling dump and put them in the correct bins. Many of these dumps have electronic dumpsters, where you can put your no longer usable electronics.

An important question to ask yourself right now is if you put your recycling in garbage bags. If your answer is yes, that is a habit you should break immediately. When you put your recycling in garbage bags, it can be mistaken for trash and sent to a landfill. It is important to only put recyclable materials in the correct bins.

Another easy mistake to make is putting objects in a recycling bin that has not been thoroughly rinsed. I used to think that it was better to put something in the recycling bin that was not rinsed than to put it in the trash, but that is actually not the case at all. Putting something that cannot be recycled in the recycling bin (primarily food) can contaminate the entire bin, meaning that everything will be thrown away. So next time you are putting something in the recycling bin, make sure to check that it is thoroughly washed.

Grocery bags are another item that tend to create a lot of waste, and can even be misplaced in your typical recycling bin, but they should be recycled in a different way. Many stores actually have recycling bins outside of their doors that are specifically for plastic grocery bags. So while you should not be placing these specific types of plastic in your recycling bins, you actually can recycle them.

So, while recycling is highly recommended, it is important to understand both why we need to recycle as well as how we need to be recycling. When these important facts get ignored, it can become harmful for the environment, and lead not only to mistakes while recycling, but to a lack of recycling all together.