Hopefully, most of us recycle and try to do our part to help the planet. We might use our recycling bins for junk mail, aluminum cans, cardboard boxes, and all the typical items people use each and every day. There are some things we might throw into the regular trash without thought, but some of these items can also be recycled.
I bet you might not have thought about recycling your toilet paper rolls and paper towel rolls when they are empty. However, especially with a larger household or an office bathroom, literally dozens of paper towel and toilet paper rolls might be thrown away each week or month. You might think to yourself: it’s such a small amount of paper, what difference does it make? I challenge you to put a recycle bin in the bathroom in your home, and in your office, if possible, to see how one month of toilet paper rolls and paper towel rolls can add up.
On the same note, after washing your hands, we often dry them with paper towels, napkins, or some other disposable type of paper. Since our hands are already clean, the paper towel is just wet, and it can be thrown in the recycle bin after use rather than the trash can. If possible, try to discourage the use of paper towels and such to dry hands at work by bringing in a cloth towel everyone can use (if your bathroom at work is non-public). Also, if you are a woman who uses tampons and they come in a paper wrapper, those paper wrappers can be thrown into the recycling bin as well. (Note: please do not throw paper applicators or used tampons in the recycling bin!)
Often times, especially at the office on lunch break, people will heat up meals that have come in a cardboard container, and throw the paper packaging in the trash. Often times, the food is wrapped in a plastic liner so the outer wrapping remains clean. If it’s still clean, the outside cardboard package can be tossed into the recycling bin. Most cardboard packages for food can be put into recycling, such as cereal boxes, cardboard frozen food packaging, and the like.
Something you might not have considered recycling before is when you buy clothes, such as socks or a nice pressed shirt, often times a small piece of cardboard comes wrapped inside the clothing to keep the clothing looking nice. That cardboard can certainly be recycled rather than put in the garbage can.
I work at a bank, so much of the paper we dispose of there needs to be shred rather than put in the trash can because it contains confidential information (such as account numbers and social security numbers). I set up a recycle bin at work for all our non-shred paper. We have a couple calendars in the lobby to show customers the date. Each day we put the paper with that day’s date into the recycling bin rather than the trash. We also put our scrap paper and all non-confidential papers into the recycling bin, and it’s filling up very quickly. It makes me feel good to know we avoided throwing all that paper away and it will be recycled rather than being burned or going to a landfill somewhere.
There are many easy things you can do to lessen your impact on the planet. If you work in an office that will cooperate with your recycling efforts, that’s a great place that can make a HUGE impact! Hopefully those from the office who don’t normally recycle at home will take those good habits of recycling at the office with them and begin to do the same at home! Even little things around your home can add up, so think about that trash before you toss it into the garbage can: is it something that CAN be recycled??