Recycling - A Little Effort Goes a Long Way!

Wouldn’t it be great if everyone came together to recycle or if recycling was made easy? Read on to find out tips on recycling and how you can make a difference.

When I joined the SOM team, I learned that materials and packaging need to be reused when possible, repurposed or recycled, and in that order. It may take a couple extra steps in doing so, but it is definitely worth it. When there are leftover pieces of fabric from the factory’s cutting table, they get repurposed. Recently Shayna, our head seamstress, made sleep masks for a gift basket giveaway. We also try to reuse shipping boxes. Paper and cardboard get recycled by taking the extra step to bring them to the recycling center. Same with plastic and glass. We have a kitchen that has two garbage cans--one for plastic and glass and the other for food waste. I repurpose scrap paper for writing notes and then recycle when I am done with it.

At home, my city’s garbage service doesn’t provide a separate receptacle for recycling, so. I went online and conducted a search for my area for recycling centers. It was pretty easy to find a place. So I collect my cardboard and drop it off once per month at the recycling center, making sure to follow the guidelines on what is accepted. For plastic and glass, in most instances, I will repurpose containers and bottles and use them as storage containers at home. Otherwise, I drop off at the nearest location for plastic and glass - preferably one without a fee.

Most grocery stores accept used grocery bags for recycling, but the best way to cut down on plastic grocery bags is to buy or make cloth totes to use instead. If you have totes made from repurposed materials, so much the better! I have a number of these, as each tote can replace hundreds of ‘single use’ plastic bags. I also reduce the overall amount of plastic waste by taking any used plastic bags with me next time I go to the store and simply reuse them. I put them in the store’s recycle bin once they are beyond further use.


  • Understanding Recycling Symbols

What about the plastic recycling symbols? Not sure what they mean? Here is an easy guideline for recycling based on the symbols. Knowing how to properly recycle is more efficient and effective than just tossing them all into the recycling receptacle for plastic. From what I have learned #1, #2, and #5 can all be recycled curbside, if available in your area. For #3, #4, #6 and #7, those types of plastics should be used sparingly and disposed of at the proper recycling center. It may be as easy as doing an online search to locate the proper recycling centers. Some landfills may also accept them for recycling or there may be a disposal center that charges a small fee. These types of places will usually accept electronics and appliances for a fee. A small fee to properly dispose of things is priceless when looking out for the best interests of our planet. ( A recent article was published at Today's Homeowner and bring more educative solution to recycling.)

  • Composting - It’s easy!

Whenever I have had a garden, I would compost. Made in the USA kitchen compost bins are easy to find online and are a convenient way to put nutrients back into your soil instead of sending kitchen waste off to a landfill. For those who like to “do it yourself”, you can construct your compost bin and maybe use repurposed materials! Compost is a natural fertilizer that won’t burn plants like the use of chemicals can. Your garden will also benefit from compost’s natural capacity to help with keeping moisture in the ground which means less need to water. Compost enriches the soil, encouraging healthy plant growth.

  • Making a Difference

If we all pitch in some way shape or form, we can make a difference. Search the web for additional information in your area, call your garbage carrier to ask where to dispose of recyclables, or visit the EPA’s website on recycling.

  • Find Out Your Carbon Footprint

Want to find out your carbon footprint? Click on this link. You may look at recycling differently after calculating your household’s carbon footprint. The calculator will also show you how you can make a difference. For example, washing your clothes in cold water and turning your thermostat down at night will lower your carbon footprint. There are other tips too.

  • Additional Links for made in USA compost products, supplies and tools:

How to conduct a home  waste audit

 And a good blog about how staying green while traveling.


  • Thank you for telling us to search our area for recycling centers, so we can drop off stuff like cardboard once a month if we want to dispose of them. I have a lot of cardboard boxes at home because of online shopping, and I want to get rid of them soon. I’ll have to start looking for a recycling center nearby that does corrugated recycling.

    Elina Brooks
  • Another service we have found for sending in your old pairs of shoes is: They will send you a prepaid shipping bag to send your old or worn shoes to them, and even if they are beyond donating, they will recycle them properly.

  • It’s good that you emphasized how pitching in some way or form with recycling can help leave a significant difference to the environment, so it’s best to ask our garbage carriers how to dispose of recyclables properly. I’m cleaning up the basement this weekend, and since there is a lot of junk that needs to be removed from our property, I was wondering what I would do with them. I’ll be sure to take note of this while I look for a nearby recycling center to contact soon.

    Anna Collins

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