It’s the most optimistic time of the year. The gyms are packed, classes are at capacity and we’re all making lists of ambitious goals to get outside and read more. If you’re looking for another way to make a difference, we suggest adding an easy-to-keep New Year’s resolution to the list: A commitment to better recycling at home.
In 2018, recycling is all about getting back to basics. Don’t worry, it’s easy. All you need to do is follow the is the Recycle Right Pledge:
Recycle all my clean and dry bottles, cans, paper and cardboard.
Place all recyclables loose in my bin, no plastic bags!
Educate my friends and family on how to recycle right.
Easy enough, right? But like any resolution, the trick is building a foolproof system for success.
Start by setting up a system that includes recycling containers around the house and easy-to-read signage. That way, even the most recycling challenged of your friends and family know what goes where. You can make your own labels using the recycling guidelines and pictures on the Waste Management website. Then, attach the labels to the containers. Maybe post them on the fridge too, just for good measure. You’ll be leading a team of recycling all-stars in no time.
The next thing to tackle are those pesky plastic bags. When placing recycling in your cart, it is super important not to recycle bagged items or loose plastic bags. As minor as the “no plastic bags” rule may seem, it makes a huge difference to the recycling system. Plastic bags in recycling carts get caught in machinery at the recycling plant and can even shut down the entire facility. By reusing your plastic bags or returning them at your local grocery store, you can keep the recycling system humming along smoothly. Better yet, bring reusable bags with you when you go shopping. Saying no to plastic bags will reduce your environmental impact and even save you a little money at some stores.
While we’re cutting back on waste, another simple set-and-forget way to reduce your footprint is to opt-in to paperless billing for your credit cards, bank statements, utility bills and more! It’s greener, easier to keep track of and more secure than paper billing.
So, there you have it, one more small but important resolution for 2018. Like any resolution, every day won’t be perfect, but if we all work together, we can make 2018 the greenest year yet in Kirkland.
Michelle Metzler is Waste Management’s recycling education and outreach manager. Learn more at recycleoftenrecycleright.com.