PRE-CYCLING: Before I address the topic of recycling, it’s worth starting at the beginning. Remember the classic “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” mantra of the early earth friendly movement. Too often we jump to the third “Recycle” option when the “Reduce” and “Reuse” steps would  reduce the overall need for recycling. Some call this “Precycling.” Evaluate a product before buying it to make sure it is environmentally sound thus reducing the need for recycling. Avoid products that use excess packaging. Let manufacturers know you care. Chide the wasteful ones. Praise the helpful ones. Go shopping with a cloth bag. If you forget, request a paper bag and later use it to line your trash can. Decline plastic bags. Reuse all bags. (from Simple Living Works)
Example: We like fruit on our cereal. My husband and I have been debating whether to buy the fruit (raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries) that come in in plastic containers that are not accepted in our curbside recycling. We make the effort to take the containers to Whole Foods which does recycle them. BUT, I suggested we refrain from buying the fruit when it is not in season? We grow some berries in our yard and could buy more at local farmer’s markets. I said, “I’m fine with raisins the rest of the year.” Jim is not. Hmmm, still considering this.

REGULAR RECYCLING – Let’s define this as stuff that is trash but it’s recyclable and you don’t want the garbage truck to deposit it in a landfill. (For donating usable items see previous post, Donating Basics.)
City curbside programs are wonderful. Ours accepts cans, paper, and bottles made of plastic or glass.
Plastics that don’t qualify for curbside: Whole Foods accepts other numbered plastics including #5s.
• Plastic bags: Most supermarkets take thin plastic bags. WARNING: Do not put plastic bags in curbside or similar waste recycling stations. Having toured our regional recycling center I saw how plastic bags had to be manually removed lest they gum up the machinery.
• Metal: Local scrap metal places take more serious metals if you have enough to make it worth your time.
Example: My husband’s home office gets pretty cold in the winter. No problem. We have 2 space heaters – one that works and one that doesn’t. We tried to fix the broken one so we could donate it to a shelter. Unfortunately, it was beyond repair. So, not an electrician but still a handyman, Jim, disassembled it to retain the metal parts, We use Can Dew or Cohen for recycling in the Cincinnati area.
Click here to see previous posts I’ve done on recycling.

CREATIVE RECYCLING – If you have time and creativity bottles, cans, etc. can be re-used for art or home projects.
Example: I found several ways to use an old slide carousel from Pinterest. However, I eventually just took it to St. Vincent de Paul. I’ll leave the creativity to someone else this time.

SERIOUS RECYCLINGBeyond 34 is a private-public partnership seeking to break through the national recycling barrier of 34%. It challenges people to move from personal recycling to make a bigger difference. It’s coming to Cincinnati..

WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS – Google “where to recycle…”: or use Earth 911’s search function.

PS: Some things are not worth recycling (like my holey T-shirts) Let it go or let it be a rag.