We all know recycling is a smart idea. But are we participating enough to have a significant impact on reducing manufacturing pollutants and saving energy? Successful recycling, in the simplest terms, is a loop —one that begins and ends with you. When we don’t participate in recycling programs unnecessary waste is added to our landfills, and landfills are not designed to decompose trash — only to bury it. Constantly adding to our landfills means we constantly need more of them. Because no one wants one near their home, trash will need to be hauled greater distances”¦and that means increased garbage collection costs. It doesn’t have to be that way.

What can be recycled?

Paper Products: includes newspaper, white copy paper, green/white ledger paper, manila file folders, cardboard, magazines, catalogs, telephone books, books and junk mail. Fact: Each ton of recycled paper can save 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, three cubic yards of landfill space, 4000 kilowatts of energy and 7000 gallons of water. It’s extremely important to remember to recycle as many forms of paper as possible. Cans, plastics and glasses are each less than 10% of household waste. We throw away four times that much paper.

Plastics: did you ever notice the number on the bottom of plastic bottles? That number signifies what type of plastic was used to make it, and indicates if it is recyclable. The most common numbers are #1 — PET plastic (milk jugs, detergent bottles); #2 — HDPE plastic (food packaging, soda bottles) and film plastic (LDPE plastic) used in grocery bags or shrink wrap.

Metals and Cans: includes aluminum, tin/steel and scrap metals.

Automotive Oil, etc.:: includes cooking oils (liquids only), motor oil and liquid auto lubricants, oil filters, antifreeze, all re-chargeable batteries and printer and ink cartridges.

Glass Containers:: includes clear, brown and green bottles and all colors of commercial food and beverage containers. Fact: Glass container (which can take 4,000 years or more to decompose) can be recycled forever without loss of quality.

Tires, Electronics (computers, monitors, printers, etc.): , Household Appliances: please contact your nearest recycling center for specific instructions and applicable fees for these items.

Does recycling really make a difference?

You better believe it! Consider this:We use over 80 billion aluminum soda cans every year, but because so many are recycled, aluminum cans account for less than 1% of the total waster stream (according to EPA estimates). Glass recycling saves more than a quarter of the energy used to make glass from raw materials, and manufacturers are catching on. Most bottles now contain at least 25% recycled glass. These and other encouraging results, give us hope that, together, we can positively impact the health of our world and community. Look for the recycled symbol on items you purchase. You CAN make a difference!