We Really Love Recycling Ideas
Importance of Reuse, Reduce, and Recycle
Most people appreciate the wonders of the outdoors and want to keep it wondrous. Unfortunately, we have also created mountainous landfills and plasticized oceans that are becoming dangerous to animals and humans alike, and changing our habits has become an important issue. Two centuries of lousy housekeeping have taken a toll, and it may take another couple of centuries to correct it. But we must start somewhere.
Many people are concerned, and outdoor sports enthusiasts are especially supportive of environmental initiatives. People don't realize that intense outdoorsmen such as hunters and fishers, can be quite sensitive to the impact of ecological abuses on animals and the resources they need to survive. Serious hunters only harvest food and know to avoid causing harm whenever possible. Some eco-friendly ideas below came from a lifelong hunter.
From plastic bags to old bike parts, there are many plastics we throw away without thinking, that should be recycled into something far more useful than ecologically harmful trash.
Creative recycling ideas can help reduce your overall spending and contribute to reducing the growth of overcrowded landfills and pollution. There are always great recycling ideas out there, but here are a few interesting suggestions to try that can help you curb your impact on the environment, and save some serious dollars as well.
Eco-friendly Recycling Ideas
Ziploc and Ikea freezer bags (among other brands) are remarkably durable and can be reused over and over before degrading, not only helping keep plastics out of landfills and waterways but saving you some serious pocket change.
Wash by hand in warm (not hot!) water with antibacterial soap. Rinse thoroughly, then hang to dry.
Plastic containers with lids are a goldmine of reusable food storage solutions. Before running to the store to pick up new plastic tubs, check for reusable store items that will work just as well. Frozen whipped topping and larger yogurt containers are great for storing leftovers and can be sanitized on the top rack of your dishwasher. Remember, if it came from the freezer case at the grocery store in the first place, it could be safely reused to freeze or store food in the refrigerator again and again. These containers will last quite a long time.
The next time you enjoy a bottle of soda or water, consider reusing it to contain pens or craft supplies or to start your spring garden seedlings. It is, of course, perfectly okay to dispose of plastic soda and water bottles in the recycle bin. Many eco-friendly activewear items in the South Mountain Market catalog are made from post-consumer recycled plastic bottles.
Plastic Grocery Bags
There is only one correct way to recycle those wads of grocery bags, and it's not in your standard recycling container.
Take those bags back to the grocery store. Most stores have a bin set aside to collect used bags and will be happy to direct you. Recycled bags are picked up on a regular basis by companies that will process those materials to make a variety of new plastics, including clothing and of course, more grocery bags.
Getting bags of shredded paper recycled can be tough. Most recycling centers won't accept shredded paper at all. Those that will require it to be delivered in plastic bags that will end up in a landfill anyway.
The reasons are all about business ... recycling companies only want high-quality long fibers that are deliberately cut in the shredding process. They will take your full sheets of unshredded paper, but that defeats the purpose of securing your private information. Businesses and large corporations have their secured documents picked up by Iron Mountain (for hefty fees), who destroys paper and documents, then delivers byproduct to a pulping mill, where the material is properly recycled. Iron Mountain says they process tens of thousands of tons of paper product every year.
Consumers, on the other hand, may appear to be stuck, but there is a solution. UPS offers secure shredding services. Take whole documents to your local UPS Store and shred them there (no plastic bags required). Iron Mountain picks up the secured bins from UPS and takes the recycling process from there. It's an extra step, but very local, and can be incorporated with other errands.
I've seen some creative uses of this cute idea. Showcase worn and imperfect hiking boots by incorporating them into your garden landscape. Hiking boot planters in a garden or on the patio are a super way to personalize your outdoor space and add a little whimsy. Try spray painting old boots (or use brightly colored rubber boots), fill with dirt, a bit of your favorite natural fertilizer, plants or flowers, then hang on a fence or wall for a playful look in the garden.
If you have an old, unwanted tent languishing in the corner of your garage or shed, make use of the fabric, poles and other components. An old tent can become a children's play space, cut and sewn into a do-it-yourself hammock, or the groundsheet can be used to make a picnic seating area. Additionally, you can set aside sections of an old tent for patching and repairs.
Recycling Bike Tires and Tubes
When your old bike tires are no longer usable, recycle them. Worn bicycle inner tubes are reused in many ways, including homemade rubber belts and wallets, replacement patio chair caning, or handlebar tape for bicycles. Return old tires to specified recycling facilities that grind tires into 'crumb' rubber, used mostly for rubber ground surfaces on playgrounds, artificial turf fields, etc.
When we reuse, reduce, and properly recycle, we're taking first baby steps toward cleaning up and protecting our ecosystems, creating useful objects that will do the job just as well as brand new plastics, and saving a few bucks. Give it a little thought before spontaneously throwing something away.