Getting Resourceful With Recycling

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Remember the days when everybody knew you were supposed to recycle, but few actually did? Now, it seems everybody recycles, while deflationary economic pressures have crippled the profitability of the recycling market. As a homeowner, you probably don’t care about the dollars and cents of the recycling market, as long as your curbside service continues uninterrupted. But what happens when your local waste management company can no longer afford its recycling services program? And what about the growing number of modern household items that can’t be recycled or thrown away?

Household Recycling Services

At one time or another, we’ve all hauled our aluminum cans, glass jars, and paper products to the salvage center. But since we can’t make the trip every day, a lot of valuable garage or yard space is used to store our trash for weeks at a time. In order to save time and effort, hire an independent recycling company to come by the house to pick up materials right from your curb. They usually run on a weekly schedule, but most recycling services are able to follow any timeline you require. If you don’t need routine pickups, companies can still be hired on an as-needed basis or for specialty pickups.

Recycling/Disposal Services for Household Hazardous Waste

We always hear about the three R’s of conservation: reduce, reuse, recycle. But what about all those materials that don’t fit into these neat categories? Some items, such as aerosols, anti-freeze, asbestos, fertilizers, motor oil, paint supplies, photo chemicals, poisons and solvents, can’t be just thrown to the curb in either a recycling bin or the trash. They must be delivered to (or picked up by) a household hazardous waste collection site. Much of these materials are reused by offering them for free during special events. In fact, while you’re dropping off your waste, you might be able to find free paint, fertilizer, and household cleaners, among other items.

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Recycling Services and Energy-Efficiency

Much of the benefit in recycling materials comes not from preserving the material supply, but in reducing the energy needed to manufacture materials and finished goods. The reason why aluminum is so important—and even profitable—to recycle is because recycled aluminum uses 96 percent less energy than producing aluminum for virgin ore. The world isn’t going to run out of many of the materials that we commonly recycle, but it is running out of readily available energy supplies. Want to justify turning your thermostat down to 72 from 74 degrees this summer? Make sure you’re recycling everything you can. Recycling one ton of paper saves 380 gallons of oil and conserves 4,077 kilowatt hours of energy. That’s enough to heat or cool an average American home for 6 months.

Recycled Building Materials

When construction is complete, there are going to be a lot of leftovers. From demolition to production, many items are thrown away or forgotten. However, these items can also be regenerated into new products. Recycled building materials such as concrete, sawdust, old cabinetry, sheet metal or wood not only support green construction practices, but they also generate profit. Reselling recycled building materials helps to earn back a pretty penny, since people pay top dollar for reclaimed wood or antique fixtures. Even the gutters on your own home or the concrete in your foundation could be made from reused resources. Salvaged materials are a great money-saver for both consumer and builder alike, so if you’re starting a project, or require post-construction cleanup, think about hiring a demo crew that knows the ins and outs of conservation and are trained in environmentally-friendly demolition and disposal procedures.

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