When you can't reduce or reuse, recycle. Any household item that no longer has a place around your home might just fit the bill for some other household and enjoy a much longer useful life. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that recycling saved over 72 million tons of trash from landfills in 2003, and it creates millions of jobs, reduces greenhouse gases, saves energy and natural resources and decreases pollution. Items that can't be refurbished are remade into new objects with high percentages of post-consumer recycled material. So recycle your castoffs, and keep the cycle going by purchasing recycled products, too.
Everyday Trash: Many municipalities have programs that pick up recyclables several times a week. It's up to you to separate what goes in each recycling bin; a list of those items is available from your local government. Typical non-food recyclables are newspapers, magazines, cardboard boxes, envelopes, phone books and yellow pages, printer paper (tip: use both sides first), most junk mail, empty soda and water bottles, glass bottles and jars, metal cans and aluminum foil. Metal and glass are usually collected separately from other recyclables. Paper and cardboard go in their own flattened stacks. Waxed milk and juice cartons, yogurt and other food containers may not be recyclable, depending on regional programs. Plastic shopping bags can go back to the store for recycling; better yet, bring your own reusable shopping bags.