Bob & Rodman – Recycling made easy

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Men laying new hardwood flooring

Clichés and proverbial sayings persist because they contain more than just a little truth. “Waste not, want not,” for example, has both private and public application. If the conservation concept of reuse, as discussed in our last article, is the private application, recycling is the public one. While the homeowner may not benefit directly from recycling, the indirect benefits are substantial.

Oh, but recycling is so complicated and inconvenient! Gotta sort the stuff. Gotta store the stuff. Gotta find a place to take it.

Sorting does seem a bit confusing. What IS recyclable, and what is not? Surprisingly, a pretty high percentage of our throwaway tonnage is recyclable; even kitchen garbage. Yep, composting is a kind of recycling. Keeping a compost heap is a topic that stands alone, but, suffice it to say that composting is an effective and directly beneficial way of recycling vegetable matter, from kitchen scraps to lawn clippings and leaf litter – not to mention paper. And, speaking of paper, whether you recycle or just trash the stuff, put it through the shredder, the cross-cut, jibble-it-up shredder. Anything personal, that is. Having seen everything from blank checks, bank statements, pay stubs, credit card statements and shipping invoices dumped whole in the recycling bin, I’m not surprised that identity theft is the problem it is.

OK, shred and compost paper; no problem. What about pernicious plastic? You got polyethylene, polystyrene, polypropylene and polyvinyl chloride and acry-/buta-/styre- combos that defy pronunciation. You’ve also got a code system that IDs the recycle category of each. The magic triangle and number code on plastic products confirms recyclability and the type of material. Ditto for glass. Putting like with like makes the system most effective, although it looks like China is perfectly happy to buy our unsorted recyclables in bulk and do the sorting at home. For most of us, the metal we recycle is in the form of cans. Aluminum or steel – a magnet will resolve the issue.

Most counties and some municipalities provide recycling sites. Check out your local county or city services web page for specific information. You might find the government location also has an area where you can pick up wood-chip mulch or compost. Some even have a section where you leave unwanted items and look for a free swap.

However you recycle your refuse, the benefit is long-term and short-term. If nothing else, you might be bolstering property value by reducing the need for a new landfill. Reduce, reuse, recycle – It works.


Bob-and-Rodman

Tune in to The Bob and RodMan Home Show every Saturday from 9 to 11 a.m. on 920 AM-WGKA to learn how to improve your house or apartment. RodMan is a certified home inspector, knows residential property appraisal and is a hands-on home renovator. Bob owned a roofing company, has reclaimed distressed properties for years and has Master Licenses as a plumber, electrician and HVAC mechanic. www.bobandrodman.com

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