Recycling at Home Saves Energy for Everyone

It’s something we hear all the time. Our natural resources such as coal, oil and metals are dwindling, and the depletion of these resources destroys natural habitats. Despite the fact that many cities offer recycling programs to help combat this concern, people often feel recycling at home is more trouble than it’s worth. If you need a little more incentive to get into the habit, think about the fact that recycling also saves energy.



Recycling Benefits


Recycling BenefitsWalk around any store, and you are looking at products that took energy to produce them, particularly plastic and metal items. By using recycled materials, companies need less energy for production than making an item from scratch. Refining metal is a lengthy and expensive process and requires unbelievable amounts of water and petroleum.


According to the EPA, using recycled aluminum only uses 5% of the energy and emissions that are needed to extract new aluminum. Even with the energy used to collect, process, and transport recycled materials, making products from them takes less energy because the materials have already undergone the inefficient initial processing. That’s simplifying a complicated scenario, but consider these recycling examples provided by the EPA and state energy agencies:


  • Recycling 10 aluminum cans saves enough energy to power almost 52 hours of a laptop.
  • Even recycling just ONE aluminum can saves enough energy to watch television for 3 hours.
  • Recycling 1 plastic bottle a day for a month saves enough energy to power nearly 300 hours of a 60W CFL lightbulb.
  • Recycling paper cuts energy usage in half. (America’s daily use of computer paper could go around the world 40 times!)
  • Recycling a ton of glass saves the equivalent of nine gallons of fuel oil.
  • Recycling one million laptops saves the energy equivalent to the electricity used by more than 3,500 US homes in a year. The next time you buy new electronics such as computers and cell phones, think of turning the old ones in to an electronics store for recycling.



Recycling at Home


Recycling at HomeSo what can you do to recycle at home? Start small, and think of how you can reduce the need to purchase new products. Reduce food waste by eating the food you have already and reusing jars and containers instead of buying more. Purchase food products in concentrate or bulk to reduce packaging waste, and look for products that are made with recycled materials. Instead of buying products like paper towels or dust wipes, reuse rags or old socks for cleaning.


Check out the EPA’s Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle website for more home recycling tips. Or, take the next step and start recycling items that you would normally dump in the trash. To search for recycling locations near you, log onto


Top 5 Mis-recycled Objects

So you want to recycle. That’s a good impulse. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, not only does recycling save energy and reduce pollution, it also creates hundreds of thousands of jobs per year and billions in tax revenue. Even for the not-so environmentally conscious among us, recycling is a no-brainer.


However, there is a way to do recycling wrong. According to USA Today, recycling non-recyclable materials can force recycling plants to more or less shut down their operations while they fish the garbage out of their machinery. Forcing plants to do this by recycling sloppily makes it less financially feasible to run a recycling operation. We want to make everyone a good citizen of the recycling world so we can continue to stuff those bins, save energy, and work toward a cleaner planet for everyone. Here are five materials that are often mis-recycled. Watch out for them!



1. Pizza boxes


Pizza-boxesThis one may be surprising because cardboard—out of which most pizza boxes are made—is practically the consummate recyclable material. But as the folks over at HGTV explain, the grease absorbed by cardboard boxes affects the process of making cardboard into new materials. So don’t let pizza boxes trip you up! Don’t mis-recycle them, throw them away and make recycling better for everyone.



2. Saran wrap


Saran-wrapThink it’s good to recycle plastic? You’re right! Just not this kind of plastic. According to Rebin, a sustainable design company, Saran wrap “can jam the machinery used to recycle plastic, costing time and money.” Think of where your recycled plastic wrap goes, and you’ll be much less likely to mis-recycle it.



3. Batteries


BatteriesBatteries today can be thrown out with your trash because they do not have as much mercury as those before 1997, when new mandates to phase out mercury were passed. But if you come upon older batteries or feel environmentally conscious about causally tossing them out, there are various recycling options from which you can choose. Older batteries contain heavy metals, so letting them rest in landfills is a long-term environmental risk for us all. Take batteries to a local facility that’s dedicated to recycling batteries and check out Call 2 Recycle for their recycling programs.



4. “Paper” cups


Paper-cupsEver wonder how paper cups are made to hold hot beverages, but are also recyclable? Unfortunately, only one of those two things is true. Most paper cups are made out of a non-recyclable plastic. Don’t get tripped up and mis-recycle them.



5. An Apple 1 computer worth $200,000


An-Apple-1-computerAccording to the pop culture site Konbini, a woman mistakenly tried to recycle an extremely rare, extremely valuable piece of tech history. This doesn’t have much to do with saving energy, but, um, don’t be like her!


5 Products You Will Be Shocked to Learn Are Made From Recycled Materials

We’ve all heard that recycling is good for the planet. We’ve all dragged our designated materials to the curb and stuffed them in that dull-colored bin. But it’s possible that we’ve never truly appreciated the realized process of recycling. After all, products are actually made from those recycled materials—pretty remarkable products. Cans aren’t just recycled and turned into more cans. Here are five products you’ll be shocked to learn are made from recycled materials.



United States Soccer Uniforms


uniforms-easy-energyAccording to Time Magazine, Nike has made soccer uniforms for both the U.S. men’s and women’s national team from recycled materials. Your old plastic bottles are on the pitch helping our boys take down Algeria! Nice.



ReCycle Bikes


ReCycle-easy-eneregyThat’s right. There’s an entire company that makes bicycles from recycled aluminum and cork. As if cycling didn’t save enough energy in the form of conserving fossil fuels, this pun-friendly company took conservation to another level. This is just more evidence that recycling is truly a wild ride.



Graduation gowns


Graduation-easy-energyIt’s always a magical moment when caps fly through the air to commemorate the achievement of a hard-earned degree. But the next time your heart swells thinking about your family member’s upcoming commencement ceremony, allow it to swell an extra size or two, Grinch style. According to Global Citizen, there’s a decent chance your favorite grad’s outfit was made from energy saving recycled materials.



Lumber used for building


Lumber-easy-energyYou’d never believe what’s holding up some building in Norway. We’ll give you a hint: it’s black and white and read all over. No, it’s not a sunburned penguin; for one thing, you’ve got to work on your homophones. For another, sunburned penguins are unionized. Too expensive.


The recycled material is newspaper! And the wood made from a newspaper is actually really useful, per City Metric, because it’s flame retardant. Who knew?





Toothbrushes-easy-energyWe know what you’re thinking. “Why would I want to brush my teeth with garbage?” We assure you, the Preserve toothbrush is perfectly clean, recycled from plastic bottle caps. (And they’re very cheap!)


Every time you use a recycled material, you’re saving energy because the production process involved in making raw materials is taken out of the equation. Even if you don’t make the U.S. Men’s or Women’s National Soccer team, you can do your part. Consider buying recycled materials, and the planet will thank you.