Ten ways to make a difference by recycling

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Staff | November 6, 2013

MADISON--Recycling is a state law for Wisconsinites, but it's also a way to save money, keep the environment clean and help the community.  Recycled cans, bottles and newspapers save resources and energy, reduce the amount of waste in landfills, supplies raw materials to industry and creates jobs.

The Department of Natural Resources is encouraging people across the state to participate in national America Recycles Day on Friday, Nov. 15.

The DNR suggest 10 ways to recycle:

1. Reacquaint – Take time to reacquaint yourself with your community's recycling program. Many recycling programs have changed in recent years and now collect a wider range of recyclables, and have also simplified the recycling process.

2. Donate – Donate clothing, furniture or other household items you no longer use to a local nonprofit or resale store. By donating reusable items, you're reducing waste while helping others in your community.

3. Recycle more – In addition to standard materials, find out what other products your recycling program accepts. Many communities have special programs to collect plastic bags, prescription medicines, electronics, scrap metal, household hazardous wastes and other materials – even athletic shoes.

4. Find recycled products – Look for products labeled with a high recycled content or ones that use “post-consumer” recycled materials, or for products with minimal packaging or packaging that is easily recyclable.

5. Talk to your kids – There are many ways children can recycle at home and at school. For ideas on simple activities to teach your kids about recycling, visit DNR's EEK! Environmental Education for Kids recycling web page.

6. Recycle your old electronics – E-Cycle Wisconsin, a program funded by electronics manufacturers, is making it easier to recycle electronics like TVs, computers and computer accessories. See DNR's E-Cycle Wisconsin program to find a recycler near you.

7. Compost – Start a compost pile with food scraps and fall yard debris. For suggestions on how to construct and maintain your own bin, see the DNR's home composting Web page.

8. Ask for recycling – In places you visit frequently – your workplace, the grocery store or the gas station, for example – ask whether they provide an opportunity for recycling. If not, ask them to put out a recycling bin for customers and employees.

9. Recycle/Reuse project waste – Recycle the debris from home construction, demolition or renovation projects. Several businesses across the state recycle or reuse shingles, construction lumber, lighting fixtures, drywall, concrete, glass and other construction materials.

10. Be a recycling-friendly business – If you operate a business in Wisconsin, make sure your business is following the law and saving money by reducing waste and recycling as much as it can. Search the Wisconsin Recycling Markets Directory to connect with recyclers across the state.

Recycling is relatively easy, and with 5 million Wisconsinites taking part, it makes a big difference to the economy and the environment. For more information on America Recycles Day, including a listing of events or to list your own local event, visit americarecyclesday.org.

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