A Day in the Life of Your Household Waste

Do you compost or recycle some of your discarded household items? Should you? There are some things that can be composted, some that should be recycled — and then there are some that are just trash. How can you tell which items are which?

Let’s take a look at the typical day of a person who participates in composting and recycling. Imagine you are that person:

You wake up in the morning and immediately let the dog outside so he quits whining. Make sure you don’t step in his waste later by picking it up and setting it aside for composting. You can compost items that will decompose quickly and add nutrients to the soil.

It’s time to make breakfast, and you’re hungry for some eggs on toast and a glass of orange juice. You crack the eggs and toss their shells into a compost pile. Egg shells and your used coffee grounds can be composted. You finish up the carton of orange juice and place it with the items to be recycled.

Whether plastic or cardboard, juice cartons can be recycled. Yours is a plastic jug, so you need to place it with the other plastic items. Since it would take too long to decompose, and would not benefit the soil in any way, it is not a good candidate for composting.

After doing some grocery shopping later in the morning, you are left with numerous plastic grocery sacks. What can you do with them? Toss them in a separate bin for recycling; on your next trip, you may be able to return the bags for re-use.

You’re grilling hamburgers for dinner, and you just love a slice of melted cheese on a juicy burger. Toss that plastic wrap into the trash, but not the pickle jar — that one can be recycled with various other glass jars and bottles.

Finally, it’s bedtime, and you have a ritual of tooth brushing and face washing before hitting the sack. You open up a new tube of toothpaste, but don’t toss the cardboard just yet. Cardboard can usually be composted, as long as it is emptied, flattened and dried. Toss your used dental floss into the trash can, and recycle any plastic fluoride bottles.

There are numerous household items that you might use throughout the day, then toss into the trash without thinking about it. What other everyday products can you recycle or compost that you might normally consider garbage?

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