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In The Zone

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Jul 29

Recycle Well at Home

Posted on July 29, 2020 at 10:21 AM by Karola Dalen

single stream recycling bin

It’s Earth Week 2020, and many of us are spending more time in our homes than ever before. 
If the kids are home too, then more garbage and more recycling is being generated every week.  Is your home recycling system working as efficiently as it could be?  Here are some tips to help your entire family recycle well at home. 

1. Keep it simple and convenient.

If you want your family and especially your children to start recycling or recycle better, you'll have more success if it’s easy for them. Set your family recycling cans in a high-traffic area, preferably near the garbage can. If it cannot go next to the garbage, consider placing it where the least amount of steps are required. If you need to separate your recyclables, make sure each container is clearly marked. Or collect them mixed then distribute into larger containers in the porch or garage during chore time. 

2. Does everyone know the rules?

Communication is important to make sure everybody is on the same page. Consider a family meeting to go over the rules of recycling in your house.  A list of what can and cannot be recycled should be provided by your curbside collection company.  If using a recycling center in Carlton County visit http://www.co.carlton.mn.us/254/Recycling-in-Carlton-County

3. A Recycling Guide

Consider making a “Recycling Guide” poster for your home or have the kids create one.  You can also email recycling@co.carlton.mn.us and we can help you out with an example. Post it on or near the recycling area or other common place in the house where it can be referenced with ease.

Johnson Family Recycling Guide 2

Here are some common tips to recycling well:

  • Never put plastic shopping bags in your curbside recycling or at a county recycling center. 
  • No liquids. 
  • Food should be scraped or washed out of containers.
  • Recycle plastics by shape: bottles, jars, jugs, and tubs. No plastic toys, plastic bins or buckets.
  • When in doubt, throw it out. If your not sure if something is recyclable its better to place it in the trash than the recycling bin.

4. Talk about conserving and preventing waste.

In the three R’s, Reduce and Reuse come before Recycling.  Preventing trash by making intentional choices not to create it has a tremendous environmental benefit.  So it’s worth the conversation. How can your family prevent items from going into the recycling bin or the trash bin in the first place? You might be surprised on what ideas your family members come up with!


Here is a list of recycling facts to help motivate recycling well at home.

  • Every time a ton of paper is recycled it saves 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, three cubic yards of landfill space, 4,000 kilowatts of energy and 7,000 gallons of water. (Source: 32trash.org)
  • Recycling just a single aluminum can saves enough energy to catch up on your favorite album on your music device and recycling 100 aluminum cans saves enough energy to keep the lights on in your bedroom for two weeks. (Source: goevergreenllc.com)
  • There are over 80 billion aluminum cans used each and every year around the world. You can recycle aluminum over and over again. (Source: conserve-energy-future.com)
  • Making new paper from recycled materials uses less energy than producing paper from virgin tree products and leaves more trees to absorb excess carbon dioxide. (Source: rubiconglobal.com)
  • There will be 1.5 million new jobs generated in the U.S. when U.S. recycling levels reach 75 percent. (Source: Recycle Across America)
  • Also, when U.S. recycling levels reach 75 percent, it will be the environmental and CO2 equivalent of removing 55 million cars from U.S. roads each year. (Source: Recycle Across America)
  • Making recycled paper instead of new paper uses 64 percent less energy and uses 58 percent less water. (Source: 32trash.org)
  • Americans use more than 67 million tons of paper per year, or about 580 pounds per person. (Source: 32trash.org)
  • You can make 20 new aluminum cans from recycled material using the same amount of energy that it takes to make 1 brand new aluminum can. (Source: rubiconglobal.com)




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