Resources – Recycling Basics
Recycling keeps materials out of landfills where they can contaminate groundwater systems and generate greenhouse gases. Recycling also keeps materials out of incinerators that can pollute the air and create ash residue. But recycling is more than a way to manage wastes; a thriving recycling system conserves natural resources and creates green jobs.
Using recycled material to make paper, plastic, glass and metal products saves energy. Collecting, processing and transporting recycled materials typically uses less energy than extracting, transporting and processing raw materials. Using recycled materials also moves jobs into the green economy.
There are a number of resources that provide information on recycling:
- Why Recycle? The US Environmental Protection Agency provides exellent information HERE on the benefits of recycling and the steps to recycling materials.
- How to Recycle? Different materials require different recycling processes. The EPA provides a good list of common recycleables and the best option to recycle them HERE.
- Where to Recycle? Each community in Washington state has its own recycling program. The most comprehensive place to figure out where to recycle items is through the WA State Dept. of Ecology’s Recycling Database. It can be reached by calling 1.800.RECYCLE (1.800.732.9253) or through their online recycle database.
- Recycling at School: The Washington Green Schools Program provides resources to help students and communities create greener, healthier school environments.
- Recycling at Events: The WA State Dept. of Ecology provides excellent information on the laws of event recycling and tips to make it easy.
- Recycling at Work: If your business or organization wants to increase the volume of materials that it is diverting to recycling, Recycling at Work provides an excellent 10 step action plan to help in this endeavor.
- Take it Back Network: The Take it Back Network is a partnership among government agencies, retailers, repair shops, charitable organizatoins organizatnois and their recyclers that provides consumers with options for recycling certain wastes–and their hazardous components–in a safe and cost effective manner. Take it Back Network locations will accept electronic products, flourescent light bulbs and tubes, and mattresses and box springs.
- Laws & Regulations: The WA State Dept. of Ecology maintains a list of recycling laws and regulations on their website.