Have you ever thought about how large your carbon foot print is? Would you like to reduce your carbon foot print but aren't sure how? One of the easiest ways to reduce your impact on the environment is by recycling. Many people don't recycle because they don't know where to start or think that it requires too much effort. Think about all the bottles or cans that you have thrown away that are probably sitting in landfills right now. Even if you just recycled your used plastic bottles you would make a great impact on reducing unnecessary waste in landfills. If you visit dosomething.org you can see 11 facts about recycling including the fact that "recycling aluminum cans saves 95% of the energy used to make cans from new material" and "American's throw away 25,000,000 plastic bottles every hour". Those two facts alone should make everyone think twice before throwing away plastic bottles or aluminum cans.

It's easy to get started recycling it just takes determination and a little bit of knowledge. The first step you should take is to check with your waste management service to see if they provide recycling services. Many waste services will provide you with a recycling bin or charge you a small fee to start out. If you live in Columbus make sure to check out Department of Public Services to see if you are eligible to participate in the new RecyCOLUMBUS program which gives Columbus residents a 64-gallon blue recycling tote to be collected every other week at no additional cost to residents. If your waste management service does not provide pick-up service for recyclables you can easily look online to find one of the many drop box locations at sites such as swaco.org If you're a student check with your school to see if there is a drop box location at one of the campuses. If you are a lucky OU student you are able to recycle at both the Lancaster and Pickerington campuses. Unlike home pick-up services these drop boxes often require that recyclables be separated so make sure you check ahead before you drop off your recyclables.

When I began recycling I became aware of the myth that everything could be recycled. If you plan on recycling make sure you do a little research to determine what kind of products can be recycled and which cannot but don't get deterred if you accidentally put the wrong items in your recycling bin. Once you begin recycling you will learn to recognize the different kinds of items that can and cannot be recycled. For example, when I began recycling I assumed that if something was made of plastic that meant that it could be recycled. I had no idea there were so many different types of plastics, and I was amazed to find out that little triangle on the bottom of my milk jug actually told me what kind of plastic it was made out of. Recycling tip #1 it is a common practice that only plastics that have a number 1 or a number 2 located in the middle of the triangle (usually located on the bottom of the container) are made from plastics that can be recycled. Many plastic wares are made from cheap plastics that cannot be broken down in a recycling process. Fast food restaurants are well known for providing plastic silverware and plastic lids/straws that cannot be recycled. If you run across a plastic container that has a number 5 or 6 in the triangle it is most likely a cheaper plastic that cannot be recycled. The higher the number the cheaper the plastic and the less likely it is able to be recycled. Remember that harder plastics such as milk jugs or laundry containers are made from better quality plastics that can be recycled. If you find that a plastic container does not have a number on it then it is most likely unable to be recycled. Remember to have fun recycling it doesn't have to be a chore!

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