Welcome to Green Boot Camp

Welcome to Green Boot Camp blog, a 52-week program to help you become a greener you in 2008. This is the companion blog to The Lean Green Family (formerly Suddenly Frugal).

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Week One--The 411 on Paper Recycling

It's all fine and good to know that you want to recycle your paper and make paper recycling a new habit, but it's important to know ahead of time what kind of paper is recyclable and the best way to recycle it. The first place you should check is with your trash collection company, whether it's private or city/town run. Usually, these companies will have an FAQ on their website that explains what kinds of paper they can take for recycling--and what kinds they can't.

Check out this Central Vermont Solid Waste Management District website for an example of what to keep in mind when recycling your paper. This site does a very good job explaining what is recyclable and what isn't.

Here is a breakdown on the most common kinds of paper you're likely to be able to recycle:

* Office paper

* Envelopes (including those with windows or that you might classify as "junk" mail, unless, of course, you're keeping them around for making shopping lists or filing tax receipts)

* Newspapers

* Magazines

* Phone books

* Paperboard (aka cereal boxes)

* Coated paper (aka opaque milk cartons, though not all facilities can take these)

To really make paper recycling a permanent habit, it would be ideal if you didn't have to work too hard at sorting your recyclables. In fact, it would be ideal if you didn't have to sort them all.

Truth is, many companies now offer what I consider to be the gold standard for recycling and that is single-stream or single-sort recycling. Single sort is a bit of a misnomer, because they don't require you to sort at all. You just toss all of your recyclables (paper, glass, cardboard) in one bin, and then it's the recycling company's job to sort things on their end. Research shows that with single-sort recycling programs, participation rates increase significantly.

One of my favorite companies to offer single sort--but which, sadly, does not offer its services where I live--is RecycleBank. Not only are they a single-sort recycler, but also RecycleBank rewards you with gift cards to local businesses based on the amount you recycle each month. Nothing like a little positive reinforcement to make a recycling habit stick!

1 comment:

George said...

Thanks, being new to blogging, I missed yours when writing recently. Certainly checking with the local recycler is a necessity. I'm including junk mail in ours all of which has to be deliveed to dumpsters 5 miles away. Though our recycler says magazines, paper bound books, junk mail, etc are Ok, they continue to show "Newspapers Only" on the dumpster, creating a publicity program which I've asked our local newspaper to cover and repeat. Citrus County, FL