Reduce, Reuse, Recycle… What can you do?

by Elana Schwartz on February 21, 2014

Hi everyone!

We all know or have at least heard of the three R’s. When I think about how I contribute to the environment, the first thing that comes to mind is my recycling habit. In my home in Dyer, Indiana, I grew up watching my parents recycle so, naturally, it is what I learned to do myself. Of course we have a few slips every now and then, but I like to think that that is better than not recycling at all. Am I right?

Anyways, living off campus and on my own at school has proven to be a different recycling experience. I no longer have my dad to remind me or scold me when I accidentally throw some plastic in the trash. Although I must admit, his yelling has made me an avid recycler. And that is the difference between some of my roommates and I; I grew up at a recycling household so I, more often than not, catch myself before throwing a recyclable item in the trash. At our apartment we have two separate bins — one for trash and the other for recycling. It came as a shock when some of my roommates expressed their lack of knowledge on recycling. What can be recycled? Why is it important to recycle?

– Most metals (steel, copper, nickel, brass, lead, gold, silver, etc.)

  • Aluminum cans (think of all the soda and beer cans left at your house after a party)

– Most paper (all your old tests, notes, syllabi, etc… basically everything school-related that you most likely want to get rid of anyway!)

Glass (clear glass is the most valuable, but try not to mix glass bottles with other glass because it can be difficult to sort out)

Plastic (plastic can be tough given the various types, but if you’re not sure which bin to toss it in, there is almost always a recycling label— on that note, you should ALWAYS recycle your plastic water bottles if you don’t already have a reusable one!)



Now that you are aware of some of the most common materials to be recycled, you are probably wondering why this all matters. There are multiple BENEFITS to recycling; listed below are just a few.

Reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills and incinerators and, hence, the need to build landfills and incinerators
Conserves natural resources (trees, water, minerals, etc.)
Prevents or eliminates pollution (no need to process raw materials, a big contributor to reported toxic emissions)
Saves energy (less energy used when making recycled products rather than products from virgin materials)
Reduces greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change
Helps to sustain the environment
Creates new jobs in the recycling and manufacturing industries

These are only a select few, but very important, benefits to recycling. Recycling stands as an advantage to the community, environment, and economy. Today the United States recycles only about 32% of its waste compared to the leading recycler in the European Union, Austria, at approximately 60%. So, make a difference— go green and start recycling today!



{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

monica shifman March 1, 2014 at 2:50 pm

Great post, so important to keep in mind the importance of recycling.


april schwartz March 1, 2014 at 3:42 pm

Very nice post! I will continue my recycling and spread the word.Thanks


Lizzie W March 1, 2014 at 3:58 pm

Nice! You should do a post on the can fairies and their excellent recycling skills


Ashley March 1, 2014 at 4:02 pm

This is great! Recycling is something that can really make a difference if everyone is onboard!


Kaitlyn McGee March 1, 2014 at 4:06 pm

It’s crazy how much less we recycle than Austria! Great article! I feel super informed


Jennia March 1, 2014 at 4:06 pm

Great post Elana! So informative! Thanks!!


Paige B March 1, 2014 at 4:10 pm

My family and I have always been a big recycler, but now living in Poland, I am noticing that Europeans seem like they have been caring for much longer about recycling than Americans. Nice job spreading the word, we have to get our fellow Americans to step up their recycling game!!!


Katie March 1, 2014 at 4:13 pm

Awesome post, Elana!


Gemma March 1, 2014 at 4:14 pm

so interesting! thanks for such a great post


sammy nassif March 1, 2014 at 4:17 pm

Awesome post Elana!! So informative!


Lauren March 1, 2014 at 4:19 pm

Great Post! Very helpful!


Ellie March 1, 2014 at 4:21 pm

I always carry my reusable water bottle to help reduce waste! Every little bit counts! Great article about what we can all do to make a difference!


Lauren March 1, 2014 at 4:24 pm

Great post! Thanks Elana!


Nina March 1, 2014 at 4:30 pm

Wow. Very informative. Great insight!


Stella March 1, 2014 at 4:34 pm

So interesting! Awesome post!


Caley March 1, 2014 at 4:35 pm

Great post! I definitely know how to better recycle now!


Lisa March 1, 2014 at 4:41 pm

Great post! Recycling while at school is a lot easier than I thought.


Sarah March 1, 2014 at 4:44 pm

Awesome post! Great job reminding us that we can continue to recycle even while away from home at school!


Jill March 1, 2014 at 4:51 pm

This is such a great post!! Recycling will definitely help to make this world a better place.


Bev March 1, 2014 at 4:56 pm

great post!


lesley March 1, 2014 at 5:05 pm

I feel like sometimes its hard to incentivise college students to recycle. It’s a great idea, but not enough people do it and the practice itself can get very expensive.


Shailee March 1, 2014 at 5:20 pm

Great post! Very informative for people new and experienced when it comes to recycling.


Kelsey Cowher March 1, 2014 at 5:22 pm

Great article, so important to remember the benefits of recycling!


Karen March 1, 2014 at 5:34 pm

I’m a believer!


Noemi Antonio March 1, 2014 at 6:08 pm

very informative , I will continue to recycle!


Kelly Brennan March 1, 2014 at 7:04 pm

Great post Elana! Very informative :)


Ben Brattain March 1, 2014 at 8:19 pm

wow great post!


Darlene Cante March 1, 2014 at 8:42 pm

Great article! Not many people understand the significance of recycling.


Julia March 1, 2014 at 8:47 pm

So informative! Love learning about this sort of thing.


Danielle Smith March 1, 2014 at 9:04 pm

Very informative post!


Ella March 1, 2014 at 9:30 pm

Oooh, interesting. Don’t forget to reuse before you even recycle- an important part people so often forget. Really great post, Elana!


Sauvegarde Externe professionnelle April 28, 2014 at 8:47 pm

Decouvrir ce excellent post : Sauvegarde externalisee professionnelle


Sauvegarde Externe April 28, 2014 at 9:47 pm
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