How to Make Recycling Your New Year’s Resolution

December 28, 2020   |   Blog

With New Year’s Eve just days away, many people are considering their resolutions for 2021. Many select lofty goals but fail quickly because they do not make a plan for how to follow through with their resolutions.

We believe that making a resolution to create less waste is a stellar goal for 2021. In order to help turn your resolution into a habit, we’ve made a guide on how you can better recycle in the new year.

1. Learn something you may not know.

Recycling can be confusing and there are many misconceptions that can discourage people from properly recycling products. For example, polling conducted by The Campaign for Recycling Awareness found that 49% of respondents did not know what the numbers inside the recycling logo meant while an additional 29% of respondents were wrong about the meaning of the numbers inside the recycling logo.

The numbers inside the recycling logo determine the type of resin used in the product which, in turn, determines how the item can be recycled. Plastics numbered 1, 2, and 5 can be recycled in most curbside programs. The remaining numbered plastics can only be recycled in specialized facilities.

Without understanding this confusing system, recyclers can end up wasting a recyclable product or they could accidentally attempt to recycle a product that cannot be recycled.

The best way to become a confident recycler is to know your recycling facts.

2. Reach out to your local recycling facility.

Not all recycling facilities are created equal. Many recycling facilities accept glass in single-sort bins, but some do not. A few recycling facilities accept cartons, but many recycling centers are not able to separate the layers of plastic, paper, and aluminum in cartons for recycling. It is important to know the specifics of the products allowed in your curbside recycling program.

Many municipalities have a website with this information. Your recycling facility will likely be thrilled to answer your questions about recycling. After all, it will save them a lot of sorting if their community does their part to properly recycle.

3. Make recycling as easy as possible.

Many New Year’s resolutions end up flopping because they are too difficult to maintain. Recycling should not be difficult. It is important to set up your home so that recycling is as easy as tossing an item in the trash.

Place your recycling bin in the same location that you have your trash bins. If it is difficult to keep track of which items can be recycled, print out a cheat sheet to hang near the recycling bin. These small changes can make recycling an absent-minded habit, rather than a new chore.

4. Learn how to recycle everywhere you spend time.

Do your empty bottles and scrap paper end up in the trash bin near your desk because you don’t know where the office recycling bin is? Change that.

Americans spend a lot of time outside their homes while at work, school, gyms, religious centers, and other places where we tend to generate waste. But many of these facilities have recycling available. It’s important to make a note of where the recycling bins are located in places you frequently visit so that you can keep your recycling habit in place, even outside your home.

5. Encourage others to recycle, too.

Reducing waste is a goal everyone should have. Those who do not already recycle may just need some encouragement. Share the information you know about recycling with your friends and family. Encourage them to do their own research to improve their recycling habits.

Of course, if your friends need a go-to resource for recycling information, have them visit where they can find frequently asked questions and other helpful resources from the Campaign for Recycling Awareness.