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Recycling While Social Distancing – How to Commit to Sustainability at Home

If you’re like many Americans, you’re acquainting yourself with a new normal of social distancing, but even in uncertain times, the state of our planet’s health demands our dedicated action to protect natural resources and abate climate change.

As you’re transitioning to a newfound social distancing norm, here are some tips to be more sustainable and recycle from where you work, live, at play – at home.

If you’ve transitioned to working remotely:

Don’t forget to check your community’s recycling website to see what can and can’t be recycled. Now is a great time to refresh your memory. Other tips will help you recycle and commit to sustainability at home.

  • Consider adjusting the thermostat to conserve electricity. While it’s not recycling, it’s a great energy efficient practice.
  • Choose recyclable office supplies and supplies made with recycled content for your home office. These may include office paper, stationary, etc. When you purchase printer cartridges take note of how to recycle them.
  • Use energy-efficient LED light bulbs.
  • Turn off your computer and home office electronics when not in use.
  • Twin the bin in your home office by locating a recycling container beside your garbage container.

If your children are out of school:

  • Reuse discarded office paper for homemade crafts and other activities.
  • Complete a Recycling Scavenger Hunt around the house and yard, having children find empty bottles, cans, and cartons as well as old newspapers, magazines, and cardboard.
  • Educate children on the benefits of recycling, including opportunities to create homemade recycling containers for bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms, which produce the majority of recyclables in the home. Need some ideas? Check out our curriculum page

If you are transitioning to delivery for food and household needs:

  • Remember to recycle your cardboard delivery boxes.
  • Check locally to see whether packaging can be recycled.
  • Plastic wrap, while not recyclable in your curbside container, can be returned to retail for recycling (once you’re allowed to return to the store).
  • Please remember, Styrofoam is not recyclable.
  • If you order in pizza, remember your pizza box may be recyclable, but your pizza, pizza crust, and cheese are not.

Other tips:

  • Remember to recycle your cardboard delivery boxes.
  • While your favorite coffee shop may pivot from allowing reusable cups to only using disposable cups, a limited number of communities have options for recycling cups and lids; please check with your local recycling program before placing in your cubside bin. Some locations may use certified compostable cups, but be sure to look for labeling on the cup to indicate composability before putting it in your organics.
  • Follow the CDC guidelines for disinfecting but remember wipes and paper towels go in the trash not recycling.

Be sure to know what is and isn’t recyclable, even if it’s new to your shopping list.

You may be buying hand sanitizer, hand soap, over-the-counter medications, and and masks. But not all health and wellness products are recyclable, including pumps on plastic soap/sanitizer bottles nor plastic gloves. Be sure to check locally to know what you can and can’t recycle in your community.

More so than ever, we’re all in this bin together. And, the state of our planet’s health demands dedicated and swift action to protect natural resources and abate climate change. That change can’t happen without a healthy you.