Separating glass and paper into recycling bins represents only a small fraction of the possible recycling options for the average household. Tactics that keep trash or household items out of the landfills fall under the recycling umbrella. Before throwing old items into the trash can, consider possible alternative purposes for the items. Challenge yourself to reduce the amount of waste that fills your garbage bin each week.
A home recycling center provides the means for collecting consumable products that cannot be reused. This basic recycling technique greatly reduces the amount of trash produced each week, yet many households still send recyclable materials to the landfill. Typical items include glass, plastic, tin cans, cardboard and paper. Check with your local waste-management company to determine the availability of a recycling program. Some cities provide curbside pickup of recyclable items, while others host recycling centers throughout the city.
Repurposing items is an alternative form of recycling. Jars, plastic containers, newspaper and many other disposable items serve as a material for craft and art projects. Plastic bags line trash cans and litter boxes. Old clothing can be turned into cleaning rags when cut into pieces. A broken telephone is a realistic toy for young children. Determine if an item holds the potential for another purpose before tossing it in the trash can.
Composting food scraps and yard waste feeds growing plants. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that these two components account for 23 percent of solid waste in the United States. A wide range of materials work well in a backyard compost pile, including cardboard tubes, coffee grounds, lint, eggshells, grass, leaves, newspaper, fruits and vegetables.
Donating items is a socially responsible way to recycle. Furniture, clothing, toys, appliances, home furnishings, cars and any other reusable items serve a renewed purpose when donated. Thrift stores accept donations of gently used items. Freecycle programs exist in many communities where people can give away stuff they no longer use. Emergency shelters may be able to use certain items to help people in need. Only donate items in usable shape.