Julie Maurer: Five recycling resolutions that can be put into action in 2024

It’s the new year — which means people are looking at resolutions and other habits they would like to change. Recycling and sustainability are some things that can be always improved upon, for both experts and those new to it.

We’ve compiled a list of five resolutions to help you get started on planning your recycling goals for the year.

Resolution 1: Recycle something new

While you may be great at filling your recycling bin every week, the start of a new year is a great time to do an audit of your trash cans to see if there is anything else you can divert from the landfill.

Julie Maurer is the coordinator of the Solid Waste and Materials Management Program for the Lenawee County Health Department.

Julie Maurer is the coordinator of the Solid Waste and Materials Management Program for the Lenawee County Health Department.

A great question to ask yourself is what is the number one item that goes into your trash right now and is there a way you can eliminate or reduce it. For example, if your family throws a lot of paper towels away — can you cut up some old towels and use/rewash them instead? Is your trash bin filled with uneaten food from dinner? Try to reduce recipe sizes, take smaller portions and save the rest as leftovers, or add what you can to the composting pile.

If all you tend to recycle is cardboard — can you add plastic bottles to the mix now? What about aluminum cans? By adding just one more thing to your recycling agenda, you can dramatically reduce the amount of trash bags you put out on the curb each week.

Resolution 2: Educate yourself

Do you know what all the numbers on your plastic bottles mean within the recycling symbol? What is the best way to prepare your cardboard boxes and plastics before you put them in the bin? What happens with your recycling after you put it in the bin and send it on its way?

By learning more about the process, you can gain a greater understanding of the impact your choices make. You can also help others accept the importance of recycling. You can also follow and support the social media pages of local sustainability programs to help support their mission. The Lenawee County Solid Waste Department will post a new blog every week as part of its efforts to educate the public. Here are some other places you can follow for more recycling information:

  • Lenawee County Solid Waste Department’s Facebook and Instagram accounts.

  • The Recycling Racoons, put out by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE), have their own Facebook and Instagram pages.

  • Check out the page listing our local commercial waste haulers.

  • Follow our local charities such as GoodwillNeighbors of HopeAssociated Charities of Lenawee and Habitat for Humanity to see if they have any donation requests.

  • Visit the pages of national agencies and organizations, such as the EPA and the National Recycling Coalition.

  • If you have curbside recycling, visit your local carrier’s website and familiarize yourself with their lists of what is acceptable to go in your bin. Here are some recycling guidelines from Stevens Disposal to check out.

Resolution 3: Involve others

If you’ve established your own recycling routine, why not help others get on board as well? One great new year’s resolution is to increase waste diversion by teaching others what you have learned about recycling.

Your family is a good place to start. Does everyone in your household know what materials can go in the recycling bin? Do they know how to rinse out their plastics? One way to get your kids excited about recycling is to have a contest every day to see who can pull the most out of the trash that can be put in the recycling instead. Or you can challenge yourselves as a family to reduce your weekly trash bag number. Do you put out four bags on average? Can you lower that to three?

Once your family is on board, are there any friends you can encourage to recycle? Do any of them have barriers to recycling that you might be able to help them overcome?

Resolution 4: Improve what you recycle

It is so easy when we’re in a hurry to just toss our recyclables in the bin and forget about them. When was the last time you stopped to make sure your items are prepared enough so the recycling centers get the cleanest loads possible? One resolution you can make this year is to create the cleanest load possible so that your materials will have a higher likelihood of being recycled into something else.

This could mean spending an extra few minutes:

  • Rinsing plastics and aluminum cans and leaving them out to dry.

  • Breaking down cardboard boxes and removing tape where you can.

  • Double checking the bin to make sure nothing is in there that can contaminate the load, such as non-recyclable trash or food waste.

Subscribe Now: For all the latest local developments, breaking news, and high school and college sports content.

By spending a few minutes focusing on the quality of the items going in recycle bin, you can increase the quantity of what gets accepted at the materials processing facilities.

Resolution 5: Increase what you reuse

The new year is a great time to change your mindset on what you are getting rid of and how you dispose of it. Before we send our unwanted items to the landfill, can we first stop and think of how it could be used elsewhere? You can donate them to a thrift shop or charity, or you can host a garage sale over the summer.

Are there small changes you can make in your lifestyle to reduce waste through reuse?

  • Stop buying disposable plastic utensils and paper plates. Instead utilize reusable dishes.

  • Instead of storage bags for packing your sandwich at lunch, switch to a reusable container.

  • Skip buying water in bottles — bring a refillable one with you wherever you go.

  • Keep reusable grocery bags in your car for when you are out and about shopping.

  • Use your kitchen scraps to help your garden grow.

These recycling resolutions are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to small changes to your mindset going a long way. If we all resolve to recycle a bit more, then 2024 could be the year we send even less to the landfill.

— Julie Maurer is the coordinator of the Solid Waste and Materials Management Program for the Lenawee County Health Department. She can be contacted at 517-264-5263 or via email at [email protected].

This article originally appeared on The Daily Telegram: Julie Maurer: Recycling resolutions that can be put into action in 2024

EMEA Tribune is not involved in this news article, it is taken from our partners and or from the News Agencies. Copyright and Credit go to the News Agencies, email [email protected] Follow our WhatsApp verified Channel210520-twitter-verified-cs-70cdee.jpg (1500×750)

Support Independent Journalism with a donation (Paypal, BTC, USDT, ETH)