Top 10 “No-Brainer” Things You Should Recycle on America #RecyclesDay

Today is America #RecyclesDay, a national event designed to encourage you, me and millions of other Americans, businesses, governments, and institutions to throwaway less trash and recycle more.

Here’s my Top 10 “No Brainer” List of what you should be recycling today – and every day. I call them “no brainers” because they’re relatively easy to do in many communities, because it doesn’t cost you anything to do them, and because they have a big environmental impact.

1.  Newspapers and magazines (though to reduce how much you need to recycle, cancel subscriptions to magazines you don’t read, and read newspapers and magazines online when possible)

2. Junk mail, office paper, and catalogs (here’s how to reduce the amount of junk mail you get in the first place; reduce office paper waste by printing on both sides, circulating documents electronically rather than on hard copy, and using software to reduce excess paper use; here’s how to cut catalog overload)

3. Paper bags and packaging from the grocery store, hardware store, or department store (reduce paper packaging waste by using reusable shopping bags.)

4. Plastic bags (if your community recycling program won’t take them, most grocery stores that still use them now take them back. Avoid them in the first place by using reusable bags.)

5. Plastic milk jugs (choose paper cartons instead if those are easier to recycle where you live.)

6. Plastic juice and beverage bottles (choose glass or cans if those are easier to recycle where you live.)

7. Electronics, including computers, fax machines, and especially cell phones (Best Buy, Office Depot and Staples will recycle your electronics for you; most phone companies will take your old phone and recycle it.)

8. Aluminum cans (pretty much all aluminum cans can be recycled, including those that contained soda pop, alcoholic beverages, and energy drinks.)

9. Clothing (recycle your clothes by donating to charity, selling at thrift shops, giving to neighbors and friends, or repurposing them as rags and even pillow-stuffings; send your shoes to

10. Food (recycle food waste into compost, to use in fertilizing vegetable and flower beds, trees and bushes)

Want More Ideas?

Top Ten Ways to Control Catalog Overload

Recycling Your Computer Just Got Easier

How to Recycle CFLs

Can You Recycle Your Car?

America Recycles Day

What else do you recycle?

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3 Responses to Top 10 “No-Brainer” Things You Should Recycle on America #RecyclesDay

  1. Patrick Tuure August 30, 2012 at 5:34 am #

    Great article and I agree with you on most points. But I don’t recommend recycling paper, it takes more energy to recycle it than it does to produce new. I know that particular viewpoint will spark off all kinds of comments but it’s quite true.
    Cutting back on how much we use is a much better option. There are plenty of simple ways to do this as mentioned in your article.
    Keeping any electronics equipment out of the landfills is a must. There are too many toxic chemicals in electronics components. One recommendation on this is asking the recyclers what they do with the electronics they recycle. I’ve unfortunately run into some who simply buy it and ship it to other countries to go into their landfills. Sad, but true.
    Aluminum and plastics should always be recycled. Aluminum is very energy intensive to process and refine. Recycling it takes very little effort.
    For more information on recycling please visit

  2. Diane MacEachern September 6, 2012 at 9:30 am #

    Thanks, Patrick. I remain a strong advocate of paper recycling, but I agree with your other points about the need to recycle plastic, aluminum and electronics, too.

  3. Caloundra Bookkeeping October 25, 2012 at 2:13 am #

    It’s amazing how you can do so much for our environment by taking note of the daily tasks that we do. We sure do a lot of subscribing of magazines, I think it’s time to use out Tablet PC’s to use and the apps on our iPhone to catch up on the news and the latest gossip. Thank so much for the tips, they’re very practical indeed.

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