Recycling: From Office to Home

If your company is presently enrolled in an active waste management, or recycling plan you know how to recycle and conserve. Leading companies are recognizing that a strong carbon imprint is not something you want to leave succeeding generations. Instead, they are environmentally conscientious and want to leave the next generation with viable options for waste. Many companies have undergone Total Waste Management audit and developed a TWM plan for their company. They cover the gamut from hazmat waste to the disposal of cardboard, plastic, water management, etc.

How are you doing in your home? Do you participate in curb recycling through your waste management provider, or city services? Companies exercising judicious actions in regard to recycling and waste management efforts are committed to the future. However, there are far more homes, apartments and single family dwellings than there are companies across the country. If every home participated in some form of recycling we would be far ahead of the game in terms of a commitment to zero waste.

Does your family recycle plastic, paper, cardboard and other recyclable designated packaging? What about water conservation in your home? Are you brushing your teeth without a running sink? Are you careful about the amount of water you run when doing dishes, or cleaning? Do you make sure the dishwasher is full before running a cycle? Here are some home recycling materials to consider:

  • Newspaper – 4ft. stack of recycled newspaper will save a 40ft. Fir tree
  • Magazines, newspaper insert ads, phonebooks, mailers, can be put together
  • Corrugated cardboard is a gold mine for recycling. Stack it, or bunch together separately at the curb. Try to keep it dry, so if it’s going to rain the night before your pickup, set it out in the morning.
  • Plastic-lined drinking cartons are acceptable by most municipalities now.
  • Plastic goods are assigned different numbers to grade them for recycling: #1 (PET) and #2 (HDPE) for containers, #4 (LDPE) for bags, #7 for mixed plastics such as polycarbonates that are not recyclable. Almost all recycling centers accept plastics #1 and #2.
  • Plastic bottles are typically made of #1 PET plastic which can be spun into fleece fabric.
  • Plastic grocery bags are a Type-2 recyclable plastic. Check with your grocery to see if they accept used bags to recycle. Glass-many municipalities have stopped collecting glass because the recycling of glass costs more than the donations received. Simply put it boils down to simple economics. However, many grocery stores receive glass bottles (clear, green, blue) in separate collection bins. Save your bottles and drop off to glass friendly recycle collector.
  • Lightbulbs like CFL’s are welcome at most home hardware/service centers. Most of the large box stores receive these in bins at their locations. Separate these glass products from your bottles, or jars. (Recycle tips by
  • Aluminum cans are one of the best recycling materials. Save flip-top tabs for your local NICU hospital unit, or the nearest Ronald McDonald House.

By simply making an effort to recycle at home you will enhance your total carbon imprint and help improve the environment as opposed to doing nothing. Get your kids involved and make it a game to collect recycling. Reward your children when they get it right! Recycling and waste management is a lifestyle and it has to be taught, caught and applied. Our future depends upon it.

Grass clippings from your yard can be used for compost piles. It’s even better if your neighborhood has a community compost pile and everyone contributes, but you can do this on your property alone. Compost is spectacular for future growing seasons for flower and vegetable beds. Turn in used oil from lawn mowers and other landscaping equipment to be recycled. If possible, conserve lawnmower exhaust by using an electric mower, or share a mower between several neighbors.

Turn lights off in unoccupied rooms to conserve energy. Brush your teeth and shave without using running water. Instead of letting your shower heat up try stepping into the shower as soon as you turn it on. The wakeup factor will be more than worth the effort and you will conserve water. Make sure you take electronic waste (monitors, old tv’s, etc.) to your local recycling center. Turn in old cell phones to your provider.

Contact your waste management contractor or municipality to learn more about your local recycling options.

Having a plan at home will only help the environment and teach your children to be good environmental stewards for the future.

Mike Watts, President
Pinnacle Environmental Services, Inc.