Many of the things we throw away could be used again or recycled into new products. Reusing, recycling and composting materials reduces waste disposal costs and problems, conserves natural resources and saves valuable landfill space.
Efforts to reduce and recycle waste materials are very important and we should all participate by purchasing only what we need and saving recyclable material
(glass, metals, papers, plastics, etc.) for making new products without using more precious natural resources.
Make recycling simple with these sustainable guidelines.
1. Select storage locations – Collect recyclable materials where they are generated by placing bins conveniently in the kitchen, home office, and garage.
2. Select storage containers – Make sure that your recycling and trash containers look different from each other. Stackable plastic bins, crates, boxes and grocery bags make good indoor containers. When full, empty them into your City-issued blue bin.
Remember to flatten cardboard and although rinsing containers out is not required, it may deter insects.
Items that are not accepted in the blue bin can still be recycled including: clothing donations, plastic shopping bags, Styrofoam packing products, household hazardous waste and universal waste is a separate simple system for recycling.
Donate clothes and household items to local thrift stores and nonprofit groups to repair and re-use. Used sporting equipment makes great gifts for hobbyists, growing children, and as affordable holiday item in providing an affordable price or gracious charity.
Paper and plastic shopping bags can be recycled in specials bins set up at most grocery stores in California. Avoid paper and single-use shopping bags altogether by using durable tote bags, and prevent tons of unnecessary paper and plastic bags from being produced and discarded.
Recycle Household Hazardous Waste and Universal Waste including aerosol cans, antifreeze, cleaners, latex paint, used motor oil, oil filters, and pesticides, solvents, electronic or programmable devices, CFLs, and batteries. To find out where to recycle anything in San Diego County be sure to visit I Love A Clean San Diego’s Recycling Database.
Sustainable Party Planning
Being green can save some green when a little sustainable party planning saves money and resources. When possible be sure to use reusable plates, cups, and utensils that you already have rather than buying disposable items.
Set up separate, clearly marked trash and recycling bins and place them next to each other so your guests can conveniently recycle throughout the event.
After the party, you can put the recyclables in your blue recycling bin or separate the CRV (California Redemption Value) items and take them to your nearest bottle and can buy back center for some extra funding on your night of fun!
This helpful pamphlet has all the details on Recycling including San Diego Recycling Centers to make you $$$ for recycling.
While traveling far and wide there are many waste-reducing methods which can save you time and money. First, remember to always bring your own reusable water bottles to reduce the amount of plastic waste in our environment. Americans buy approximately 28.9 billion plastic water bottles every year, and about 8 out of 10 of those bottles end up in a landfill.
When planning a picnic at the park or a day at the beach, pre-pack your cooler with ice or ice packs from home to save time and fuel by avoiding an extra stop. Pack snacks and games in reusable shopping bags. Remember to also pack extra reusable bags for any purchases made during your trip.
Reduce your environmental footprint by using GPS technology or cell phones for directions rather than printing them on paper. If it must be printed use scrap paper in which one side has already been used. Another great way to increase your environmental efficiency and decrease your spending is to make sure your vehicle tires always have the recommended air pressure for optimal gas mileage. Safe travels!
Compost is a dark, crumbly, earthy-smelling mixture that consists mostly of decayed organic matter. Composting is a simple, natural process, nature’s way of recycling nutrients and returning them to the soil to be used again. By taking advantage of this natural recycling process, you can help lighten the load of waste that would otherwise go to a landfill. Compost is used for fertilizing and conditioning soil. It can be made from materials that most households throw out,like:
- Yard wastes, such as fallen leaves, grass clippings, weeds and the remains of garden plants.
- Kitchen scraps except for meat, fish, bones and fatty foods (such as cheese, salad dressing & leftover cooking oil).
- Woody yard wastes, chipped or shredded, can be used as a mulch or for paths, where they will eventually decompose and become compost.
Curbside Recycling Tips (FAQs)
What gets recycled in the blue bin?
A lot of things can be recycled in the blue bin. Most paper products, including newspaper, office paper, cardboard, food boxes (including clean frozen food boxes), magazines, and advertisements. Paper products must be free of food waste, pet waste, oil or excessive dirt.
Empty glass bottles and jars are recyclable, along with their lids and empty metal and aluminum beverage and food containers can be recycled, as can disposable aluminum bake ware and clean foil.
Remember that an aerosol can that had contained hazardous waste cannot be recycled. If empty, dispose in the trash. If it contains product, it must be disposed as hazardous waste.
A lot of plastics can now be recycled. In addition to bottles, jugs and jars the city now accept clean plastic food packaging containers, including round yogurt and dairy tubs, “clamshell” plastic containers, drink cups, deli trays, and berry baskets.
Accepted non-food plastics include plant pots and garden trays, along with rigid plastics such as buckets, toys, and containers that held non-hazardous household products such as detergent or pet litter.
Other non-food plastics include large items such as plastic crates, totes, laundry baskets, pallets, and lawn furniture. These types of items must usually be broken down to fit into the blue recycling carts. If the cart is overfilled or overflowing the recycling truck may not be able to empty the bin.
Do I have to separate the different types of materials for recycling?
No, do not separate the materials for recycling, with the exception of shredded paper. This needs to be placed in a bag before putting it in the blue bin. A paper bag is preferred, but shredded paper is also accepted in a plastic bag. All other materials should be placed loose in the blue recycling bin.
Do things like staples, paper clips, and plastic windows need to be removed to recycle paper?
No. The paper is turned into a watery pulp before it becomes a new product, and while the paper is in a pulp phase, non-fiber material will be removed by skimming, straining, and magnetic screening.
With every-other week recycling collection and because so much of our waste is recyclable, the blue bin overflows on a regular basis. How can I get another recycling container?
City residential trash customers can choose from two recycling container sizes: 64- and 96-gallons.
2 ways to get an additional blue bin or trade a smaller blue bin for a larger size is
1) Delivered to your home for a $25 delivery fee, or
2) Pick it up at Collection Services at no charge. Must prove residency to pick up a bin. If the driver’s license shows a different address than a utility bill or water bill, along with a picture ID will work. It is your responsibility to safely secure it to your vehicle.
Residents may have a maximum of three recycling containers per home unless special authorization for more is granted. The bin can be picked up at Collection Services, 8353 Miramar Place, San Diego, CA 92121, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m.- 4 p.m and is closed on holidays.
Call ESD Customer Services at 858-694-7000 to place request.
Are bottle caps and jar lids recyclable?
Yes! All metal and plastic lids can be recycled. The lids should be put back on the containers for recycling.
To recycle food container tops from metal cans, stick them back down into the container. The sharp edges can be a hazard for recycling workers and the lid’s flat profile can cause the lid to slip between belts and gears and damage the processing equipment. Try leaving a small part of the top attached to the can and then fold it into the can.
Should labels be removed from containers for recycling?
No, there is no need to remove the labels. They will be removed as the materials are processed for manufacturing.
Do containers like bottles and cans have to be washed out for recycling?
It is not necessary to wash out your glass bottles and jars or aluminum and steel cans. Try to keep it clean by dumping it out scraping off the sides if necessary.
If you enjoy this Green Yourself Tip be sure to check out the full episode about this issue
Season 2 – Ep. 6 Think Again
Season 2 – Ep. 6 Think Again