Tag Archives: recycling

How To Recycle The Correct Way

Tips On What You Should And Shouldn’t Throw Into Your Curbside Recycling Bin


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Recycling is an important discussion topic because we are all doing it wrong.

There are certain items that we place into the recycling cart that are actually causing costly shut downs at recycling facilities all across the country because they jam machinery and even cause fires.

Hence, it’s crucial to take a few minutes out of your day and read up on your community recycling guidelines. Some recycling bins themselves even have a list of what you can or cannot recycle written right on them.

Recycling is a community effort. Yes, we pay to have our trash recycled, but we do it to help our environment—to keep unnecessary items from ending up in the landfill.

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Below are our tips on how to prepare for the recycling process as well as what you should and shouldn’t throw into the recycling bins to help the facility workers out.

We also encourage you to read your county’s rules and guidelines because they may be slightly different from this list. For example, in my county, they are currently not accepting glass containers—so it’s important to go on your local waste management website and double check their list of accepted recyclable products.

Before you Recycle:

  • Rinse food residue off of all recyclable items.
  • Crush recyclables like bottles, plastic jugs, and cans.
  • Flatten all cardboard boxes.
  • Remove metal components from plastic items.
  • Leave bottle caps and lids on your items.
  • Make sure that paper is dry.
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Do Not Bag Your Recyclables!

And Lastly, even though we all hate to see debris flying out onto the road, please place recyclable items loosely in your recycling bin. Bagging isn’t necessary, and it slows up workers’ abilities at the recycling center—bags will even jam machinery.

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What You Should Recycle


Plastic water & soda bottles, dish soap bottles, shampoo bottles, laundry detergent jugs and some cleaning product containers that are recyclable (rinse out and leave the caps on).

Flattened cardboard boxes, cereal and food boxes, shoe boxes, beer boxes, milk and juice cartons, toilet paper rolls, and paper towel rolls.

Clean aluminum foil, aluminum cans, tin cans, steel cans and aluminum, tin or steel food pans that are not coated.

Paper bags, junk mail, catalogs, paperback books, office paper, magazines, envelopes, telephone books and newspapers.

Glass bottles and jars (lids too!)

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What You Should Not Recycle

Plastic Bags (they jam the processing equipment).

Plastic Straws (too lightweight and fail to get sorted).

Shredded Paper (too tiny to pass through sorting—it’s a nightmare for facility workers).

Clamshell Fruit Containers (they melt differently and turn into ash that contaminates other good recyclable plastic).

Cardboard With Grease Stains (like pizza boxes) or Moving Boxes With Oil Stains.

Oven Cookware (because some contain a coating).

Scrap Metal (they might oil residue or contain asbestos).

Drinking Glasses (they have a different composition and melting point compared to container glass).

Ceramics (they can’t be melted down).

Paper Towels (the fibers are too short to be recycled and contain dirt, cleaning chemicals and more unsanitary items).

Prescription Bottles (these are indeed recyclable, but recycling facilities can’t process these due to their size—they’re too small to get picked up by the sorting process on the conveyor belt).

Hangers (they jam machinery—just donate them to Goodwill or another thrift store of your choice).

Christmas Lights (too many different components).

Clothing (clogs the machinery—donate to goodwill or place them into the regular trash bin).

Batteries (when compressed by the collection truck or at the recycling facility, they can spark and cause a fire).

All Electronics like computers, printers, phones, radios, remote controls, etc. (they contain toxic materials like mercury, lead and other products that are harmful to the environment—even in the landfill).

Aerosol Cans (though the containers are metal, the pressurized contents can cause damage at the recycling facility).

Treated Wood (finished or painted wood cannot be burned and can also contaminate water).

Mirrors (they contain a reflective coating that simply can’t be recycled).

Pet Food Bags (they contain plastic layers to keep the food fresh).

Styrofoam (it’s 95% air, hard to clean because it’s porous and it would jam machinery).

Ice Cream Cartons (they contain a plastic lining to keep liquid in place if melted).

Yard Waste (you simply can’t recycle grass, leaves or other even garden hoses).

Free Printable For Kids!

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How To Repurpose Bicycle Helmets

Unique And Creative Ways To Upcycle Your Outdated Bike Helmet When Recycling Isn’t An Option

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Helmets have a limited lifespan—kind of like infant car seats. After some time, the parts of a helmet—such as the foam and adhesives, begin to degrade—resulting in a subpar level of protection.

Because of this, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), recommends replacing a bicycle helmet every five to 10 years, which basically places helmets in the category of disposable products.

In that case, you absolutely must buy a new helmet, but what is the fate of the outdated one? What if you don’t want to send the old bicycle or motorcycle helmet off to the landfill? What are the alternative options?

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Option 1: Recycle


One option is to call your local recycling center and ask if they recycle the plastic portion of the helmet. If that’s the case, you can take the helmet apart and place the plastic casing into your recycling bin. I’ll be honest, they probably won’t accept them. But don’t be discouraged, because there are other pretty cool alternatives to landfill disposal.

Ten years ago in Portland, Oregon, a helmet recycling program was in the works, but unfortunately, it never went anywhere. I believe the man behind the concept didn’t have enough investors or something to help him build a facility with necessary equipment. That’s too bad.

Another option is to send your helmet into a recycling program called TerraCycle who would take it apart and repurpose the components—BUT, I believe you have to order a special shipping box and it’s very expensive. A small zero-waste shipping box costs around $137.00 and can be filled with as many sporting goods as you can fit. The question is, do you want to spend that much money?


Option 2: Donate

You can donate your old bicycle or motorcycle helmet to your local emergency response department (like the fire station) for training purposes. They will happily take your helmets and use them to teach their students how to safely remove a helmet when a motorist is injured.

Never donate an outdated helmet to an active motorist or cyclist—this is irresponsible and can cause a head injury and even death.

Option 3: Upcycle

Another great option is to upcycle your old helmet into something purposeful. Many people opt to turn their helmets into planters, which look unique and add charm and character to a backyard or garden. Simply line the bottom with some newspaper and add soil and seeds, or transplant an existing plant into it.

Many people also repurpose old bike helmets into unique lanterns and lamps that look awesome in a man cave, garage or even kids’ room.

Need a bowl? Bike helmets work amazingly well as fruit or popcorn bowls! You can paint them and use them in the home or break room at work for this exact purpose! Perhaps you have a Stars Wars fan in your life, in which case you can paint the helmet in the likeness of R2D2 or BB8 and create a Star Wars themed snack bowl!

And lastly, they can be painted and transformed into Halloween candy bowls or used for trick or treating! The strap easily works as a “bucket handle”. And they can most certainly be crafted into a costume accessory or scary yard display during the spooky season as well!

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Until bicycle helmets are manufactured to be sustainable and recyclable, these are the best options for keeping old helmets out of the landfill—and they’re not such bad options.

Below are some amazing and creative examples of repurposed bicycle and motorcycle helmets to help inspire you! I hope you enjoy these ideas and please give these talented folks below a follow!

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25 Insanely Cool Upcycled Planter Ideas

Discarded Items That Were Transformed Into Amazing DIY Sustainable Planters



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You what they say: “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure”—and it’s extremely true! Especially when plants and yard decor is involved!

Every household accumulates items that they eventually need to throw away due to wear and tear. It’ll either go in the trash, get donated to the local thrift store, or, my personal favorite solution: get upcycled into amazing home and garden decor.

You can upcycle almost anything into a planter. I say almost because material like cardboard for example, can get soggy from water—which is what plants occasionally need.

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So what kind of items can be upcycled into amazing planters? Items like: teapots, shoes, mugs and even jeans are excellent items that can be flipped into planters! Unique and unconventional planters add style, charm and character to your home and garden.

I love finding inspiration for upcycled planters on Instagram and other social media platforms. They are full of so many amazing and talented individuals who take crafting and upcycling to another level. So please, if you see any ideas below that you like, visit their profiles and give them a follow!

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An old pair of high heels make a fashionable planter
Amazing planter made from repurposed wine bottle corks!
Old pots and pants make excellent sturdy planters
Don’t throw that teapot away, use it for your plants!
Got an old bike? Use it as a planter and add some unique style to your yard!
I love rainboots as repurposed planters! They add so much charm!
This watering can makes a very cute planter!
Old tea pots make very charming planters!
Old kitchen gadgets? Why not!
These plastic bottles make great planters—and fun art projects for kids!
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The Best Countertop Compost Bins

The Best Kitchen Compost Bins For Collecting Every Day Food Scraps In Your Zero-Waste Kitchen!

Updated September 20, 2021

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Food is a basic human need, yet we take it for granted—creating food waste that contributes to 6% of greenhouse gas emissions.

Restaurants, grocery stores and our own households generate a good amount of food waste on a daily basis. And if you have a tiny squad of picky eaters, you know that’s not far from the truth!

So what can society as a whole do to lower our carbon footprint when it comes to food waste? The answer to that is indoor composting.

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What Is Composting?

Composting is the method of taking food scraps and other organic items, placing them into a bin, and allowing everything to decompose and biodegrade into nutrient-rich material.

Composting is really quite beautiful. You’re essentially guiding dead matter into the afterlife, where it will emerge as something purposeful—it will contribute to the growth of new living matter. It’s literally the circle of life.

Compost acts as a natural fertilizer and soil conditioner that’s used throughout the world for organic farming, gardening and landscaping. It also acts as a natural pesticide, reducing the need for harmful chemicals in agriculture.

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There are three main ways to compost:

Continuous composting, batch composting, and indoor composting.

Continuous composting occurs outdoors within large containers. This is a method primarily used by gardeners. Food scraps and landscape items such as weeds, grass clippings and twigs are continuously placed inside to biodegrade.

Just as the name infers, batch composting occurs in batches in order to biodegrade at a faster rate. Food waste and other material are added into a pile at one time, then mixed and tumbled a couple of times a day until the compost is “cooked” and ready to be used. Then it’s switched out with new waste and the process is repeated.

Indoor composting consists of composting on a smaller scale—mostly kitchen food scraps which are tossed into a gallon sized countertop bin that contains an odor absorbing charcoal filter (though not all bins require one). This smaller production of compost is typically used on household plants and small gardens, and it’s a great way fo strive for a zero-waste kitchen.

Why You Should Compost

Composting helps fight climate change! As mentioned previously, food that ends up decomposing in landfills contributes to six percent of global green house gas emissions.

When you compost, your small contribution helps reduce these greenhouse gas emissions, and you’re supplying your lawn, garden and household plants with organic and rich nutrients.

What Can You Compost?

You can compost most fruit/vegetable scraps, crushed eggshells, coffee grounds, tea bags and old bread. If you’re using an outdoor bin, you can throw in larger twigs, weeds, and grass clippings, etc.

You should never compost meat, fish, dairy products or oil of any kind, as these items will only attract maggots and rodents.

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If indoor composting sounds appealing, then you should definitely give it a try! You’ll feel great about recycling organic matter and turning it into something purposeful.

Below are a few excellent kitchen countertop compost bins to get you inspired. They all come with tight seals and charcoal filters to trap odor, so no need to worry about attracting flies.

Concern about odor is a main reason that prevents people from pursuing this practice, but there’s really no need to worry about it.

These bins are easy to clean, and some are even dishwasher safe. It’s also up to you if you’d like to use a biodegradable liner. It’s really not required, but it’s easier to maintain a clean bin that way. Some of these bins come with liners included, and some must be purchased separately.

Another great feature about countertop compost bins is the size. They’re all primarily one gallon-sized containers, so they’ll fit just about anywhere without taking up much space.

They also all come in different styles—from retro to modern and contemporary. And, stainless steel to ceramic and more. So whatever look you’re into, there’s a compost bin out there that’ll match your kitchen decor.

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OXO Good Grips Compost Bin

The OXO Good Grips plastic countertop compost bin is budget friendly and easy to clean with a removable lid and easy grip handle. This bin features soft seal construction for oxygen flow to prevent odor build up and does not require a filter. With 3 neutral colors to choose from, the OXO Good Grips compost bins will fit in with any kitchen decor.

Vitamix 068051 Food Cycler

Slightly bigger than your conventional countertop compost bin, the Vitamix food cycler transforms your food scraps into fertilizer within a couple of hours. While it does require an electrical outlet and takes up slightly more space, many people prefer the convenience and efficiency of this “smart” composter to traditional kitchen compost bins—it even composts chicken bones!

Bamboozle Biodegradable Kitchen Compost Bin

The Bamboozle kitchen compost bin is made from sustainable bamboo fiber, making this unique countertop bin completely biodegradable. It’s also resistant to heat and moisture, making this eco-friendly kitchen compost bin dishwasher safe and anti-microbial.

BelleMark Countertop Compost Bin

The BelleMark kitchen compost bin is made from sustainable acacia wood and contains a removable rust-proof stainless steel insert for easy cleanup (and it’s dishwasher safe). This rustic countertop compost bin features a secure lid to prevent odor and does not require a filter.

Joseph Joseph 30016 Kitchen Compost Bin

The Joseph Joseph 30016 countertop compost bin contains a wide opening that makes food emptying a breeze. This kitchen compost bin contains a liner retaining interior and a filter compartment in the lid for ventilation.

Modern Barnhaus Kitchen Compost Bin

The Modern Barnhaus kitchen compost bin is is made from stainless steel. It includes a year’s supply of charcoal filters (6) and biodegradable liner bags (50), a user manual and a helpful composting dos and don’ts magnet. This countertop compost bin is ideal for beginners.

iTouchless Kitchen Compost Bin

This countertop compost bin by iTouchless is made of brushed titanium steel. It has a more contemporary look for those who like their kitchen decor simple. It contains a filter within the lid and tight seal to prevent odor. It’s also fingerprint proof and easy to clean.

Chef’n Store

This contemporary ceramic countertop compost bin by Chef’n Store allows you to collect up to 3-quarts of food scraps, and features a vented lid with a charcoal filter that absorbs odors, keeping your kitchen smelling fresh. This kitchen compost bin also contains a removable inner bucket that’s dishwasher safe—making cleanup a breeze.