4 Ways to Protect the Planet by Recycling Right
(BPT) – Climate change is already impacting countries across the globe and changing the landscapes we know and love, affecting our quality of life in countless ways. The scope of the problem can seem overwhelming, but a recent landmark climate study released by the United Nations found that the world still has time to avoid the most extreme dangers of climate change, if the global community acts even more aggressively to operate and live more sustainably.
California has been a leader in fighting climate change, but this Earth Day, it’s more important than ever that all Californians commit to sustainable living. Many Californians already do their part by using their home recycling bins to their full potential, but there is a lot more we can do to recycle products that don’t belong or fit in the recycling bin, like batteries, carpet, mattresses and paint.
Batteries help power our daily lives but when they no longer hold a charge and reach their end of life, they can and should be recycled. Batteries are not only banned from the trash in California, but puts people, property, and the environment at risk if thrown away. Instead, research special drop-off locations near you or through the mail. Call2Recycle offers a Battery Collection & Recycling program for all your battery recycling needs.
Through the program, 95% of Californians live within 10 miles of an available Call2Recycle established drop-off site. Over 140 million pounds of batteries have been kept out of U.S. landfills since the Call2Recycle program launched in 1994.
Almost 300 million pounds of carpet is torn out each year in California and more than 80% of it can be recycled into useful new products. The effort is led by the California Carpet Stewardship Program, administered by the non-profit Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE). CARE supports carpet collectors, recyclers and companies that have built markets for recycled carpet material.
Through the program, discarded carpet is collected at nearly 100 public drop-off locations and over 200 private collection sites and recycled into useful new products. These products include carpet fiber and backing, automotive parts, house trim and siding, insulation, accessibility ramps and more.
To make sure your old carpet gets recycled, ask your flooring retailer or installer about recycling options or find a drop-off site near you. Carpet recyclers, who are members of CARE, have diverted over 1 billion pounds of carpet from California landfills since 2011. Helps us get to 2 billion pounds by visiting the CARE website and learn more.
An estimated 75% of a mattress can be recycled. The steel, foam, fibers and wood are used in products like construction rebar, carpet padding, insulation, mulch and biomass fuel. Through the work of the Mattress Recycling Council’s Bye Bye Mattress program, the bedding industry is coordinating with mattress retailers, cities and waste haulers to help mattresses end up at recyclers instead of the landfill.
This program and the state law that created it give Californians options to dispose of mattresses at no cost. When you no longer need your mattress, MRC recommends you:
- Ask your retailer to take away your old mattress when they deliver a new one.
- Contact your city or waste hauler about the curbside collection of bulky items and if they participate in Bye Bye Mattress.
- Drop off your mattress during a Bye Bye Mattress collection event or at one of more than 220 participating collection sites around the state.
A fresh coat of paint is a great way to update or enhance your home. How you store and handle that paint that can help keep your environment clean. If you have leftover paint you want to use again, be sure to store it correctly for future use. Use a paint key to open cans rather than a screwdriver which can damage the rim. Wipe the rim clean after use and then reseal the lid with a rubber mallet or place a piece of wood or book between the hammer and carefully tap down.
For paint you no longer need, don’t throw the cans in the trash. Find a free PaintCare drop-off site at local paint and hardware stores and bring in primers, stains, sealers and clear coatings such as shellac and varnish.
Leftover paint collected through the program is diverted from landfills and put to use, including immediate reuse for those who need it, processing into recycled content paint, blending into fuels, or use in other products such as landscaping materials and concrete mixes.
Be Part of the Solution
Recycling common household goods including bulky items like mattresses and carpet may seem like a small action, but collectively it has a massive impact on environmental health. Be a part of the solution and take these simple steps to recycle and make a difference in stopping climate change this Earth Day and beyond.