by Abby Golder

There are a number of ways to help protect the earth, including buying used when possible, bringing a reusable bag with you to shop with, and watching your energy usage. To do your part in ensuring a healthy planet for generations to come, check out these do’s and don’ts on recycling in Orlando. 

WHY RECYCLE?

There are plenty of reasons why we should all recycle. The first being plain and simple – recycling is good for the environment. The second could best be chalked up to a healthy planet produces healthy people, the benefit of which would be felt by all of us. Each of us can do our small part in showing the earth some love.

One way to contribute our fair share would be recycling waste from our households and encouraging our workplace to offer environmentally-friendly waste disposal alternatives around the office. Recycling provenly reduces the amount of waste transported to incinerators and landfills. Incinerators, also known as “waste-to-energy” sites, release harmful pollutants into the atmosphere that can be dangerous for those living in the surrounding community hosting the site. Burning plastics can be detrimental to those breathing in the residue while leaving plastic to stew in a landfill inevitably creates surmounting problems.

Another positive to recycling is that this practice conserves our natural resources and saves energy. Before picking up your green bin, be sure to understand what is acceptable material to recycle at your local Orlando recycling plant. Check if your neighborhood or apartment building offers a recycling service, and encourage your friends to dig through their materials with you.

WHAT CAN’T BE RECYCLED?

No plastic bags. Whenever possible, opt for a reusable or recyclable mode for carrying your groceries, clothing, and other goods. Plastic bags harm the environment and interfere with the recycling process. Most recycling plants will not accept plastic bags and will be unable to process them. Before dumping your recyclable materials, be sure to check for plastic bags and to remove them from your bin.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers a comprehensive list of materials that are accepted through most recycling plants as well as a list specifying what should be removed from your pile. When sifting through household waste, do not include hazardous materials or food waste in your recycle bin. Materials identified as hazardous run the gamut: rechargeable batteries, cleaning products, fertilizers, and paints to name a few. To cut down on your carbon footprint, look for non-hazardous materials that can be recycled and used in place of those hazardous materials sitting in your cabinets.

Instead of dumping your food, or organic waste, pick up composting for that garden you’ve been dreaming about. Composting has become a popular practice in addition to recycling. By sorting your food scraps and other biodegradable waste into a separate bin, this process not only enriches the soil but reduces methane emissions from landfills and reduces your carbon footprint.

WHAT CAN I RECYCLE?

Individual communities in Orlando allow for single stream recycling meaning all of your recyclables are included in the same cart or bin. These items often include steel and aluminum cans, specific plastic bottles and containers, office paper, brown paper bags, and newspapers, along with cardboard containers, magazines, and flattened cardboard boxes.

Check your area’s recycling rules and regulations to determine recycling pick-up fees, when curbside bins will need to be set out, and where to place your bin for them to be collected if your community offers a pick-up service along with trash pick-up. Recyclable items including mail, newspapers, magazines, catalogs, phone books, paper bags, soda cans, and cardboard boxes can also be sold for extra pocket change. Interested in making a few extra dollars? Search for recycling plants offering to pay for your discarded items.

Sifting through years worth of office paper that seemed to have grown at a staggering rate? Package files you no longer need and send them to be recycled responsibly instead of collect dust on your desk. For those planning on moving, identifying a waste pick-up service before your move will help to responsibly manage your waste and clutter as you relocate your home and family. Have your items disposed of responsibly. This can include large items like TV’s, refrigerators, mattresses, and other large appliances. Additionally, responsible waste services are great alternatives for disposing of large office equipment as well. In addition to recycling, waste pick-up services will typically donate as much as they can before even considering recycling or trashing.

Let’s all do our part in keeping Orlando beautiful.