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Haddon Township, NJ Reduce, Reuse and Recycle the Three Rs of Recycling

Haddon Township, NJ Recycling Guide


The Three "R"s of Recycling
Recycling Centers & Services; Garbage Collection; Waste Disposal-Hazardous

Woman thinking about buying a car or shoes.The three “R”s of recycling are reduce, reuse and recycle. All three are necessary components in eliminating the amount of waste we generate and protecting the environment. As every American produces an average of 4.5 pounds of waste per day, simply purchasing recycled products or placing them in blue bins will do little to reduce that number.

Practicing the three “R”s of recycling requires a change in mindset, behavior and purchase patterns. Instead of immediately purchasing the latest vehicle, electronic device or buying the latest fashion jeans or shoes, thought must be given as to the length of product life and the impact the purchase will make on the environment.



Reduce
Recycling Centers & Services

One of the easiest ways we can reduce the amount of waste reaching our landfills is to reduce the amount of trash we throw away on a daily basis; even more than the quantity, we must also consider the quality. Waste reduction should include limiting or completely eliminating harmful toxins in our waste.

Source Reduction
Through source reduction, efforts are made to change the design, manufacturing, purchase of a product or changing the materials used to make a product or packaging in order to reduce its overall amount and toxicity before it becomes waste. Doing this requires careful through and consideration both prior to purchase and prior to throwing it away.

According to the EPA, we are making some strides in achieving source reduction:

  • In 2000, more than 55 million tons of municipal solid waste was reduced. This reduction broke down as follows:
    • 28% of the materials source reduced was containers and packaging
    • 17% was non-durable goods such as newspapers and clothing
    • 10% was durable goods such as appliances, furniture and tires
    • 45% was other waste such as yard trimmings and food scraps
  • Since 1977, the weight of a 2-liter plastic bottle has decreased from 68 grams to 51 grams each, keeping 250 million pounds of plastic from entering the waste stream.

Practicing source reduction requires you to look at the products you purchase differently. Instead of thinking about trends and fashion, the long term effect of a product on the environment should be a consideration. Is a shiny new sports car the best purchase when you plan to have kids in the next 5 years? Or is it better to purchase a bigger car now knowing you can keep it for the next 10-20 years? Also consider how long you expect a product to last. Purchasing lower quality products can save money now, but how soon will you need to replace it? Paying more up front to have something last longer will actually save you money in the long run rather than buying something twice. The environment benefits from this as well as fewer items will end up in landfills if they stay with the consumer longer.

Reduction Benefits
In addition to the obvious benefit of reducing the amount of waste in landfills, other benefits are gained through source reduction. As we reduce, we cut down on the number of resources we use. Natural resources are spared as fewer of them are needed to create products. Reduction can limit demand which, in turn, limits the need for manufacturing and cuts down on the amount of materials needed to create products. This reduction in manufacturing has a positive effect on the environment as fewer pollutants are added to the air and eventually into landfills.

There are economic benefits to reduction as well. As communities reduce waste, fewer resources will be needed to haul it to landfills, create community composts and manage resources. Businesses can maintain a higher profit margin if product packaging is reduced to a minimum. Less money is spent on purchasing raw materials, reducing the overall cost to make the product which can be passed on to consumers.



Reuse
Charitable Organizations; Thrift Shops

Incorporating reuse into your habits also requires a different way of thinking. Instead of contemplating whether to bring the product into your home, reuse asks you to think about whether it is time to really get rid of it. Reusing a product extends its lifecycle and in some cases, will give it renewed life all together.

Instead of throwing something away, ask yourself what other uses it could have. A glass jar can also be used for storing loose buttons, nuts and bolts, oatmeal purchased in bulk or a decorative planter. Used clothing can be handed down to other siblings, used for Halloween costumes or for cleaning rags.

Yard Sale sign.But reusing a product doesn’t mean you have to be the one to continue using it. Products can be donated to charities, put up for sale on Craig’s List or eBay, sold at a garage sale or gifted to family members or friends. Placing something that works and is in good condition in the trash should be avoided. Always try to find it another home and allow someone else to continue reaping its benefits.

If items are broken and in need of repair, try to have it fixed before discarding it and immediately purchasing a new one. Oftentimes, the cost is significantly less to have it fixed and it will continue working for a long time.

Reuse Benefits
As products are reused rather than discarded, it protects the environment by extending the time before it enters the waste stream and eliminating the energy and pollutants required to make a new product. The economy is strengthened as businesses that thrive on reused products stay in business and support their employees.

Larger items that are donated can also be a tax write-off. Instead of trading in an older car, have you ever considered donating it? Charities may be able to connect the car with someone who needs it or sell the parts. By donating it to charity, the value of the car becomes a tax write-off to you which can be a huge benefit come tax time.



Recycle
Recycling Centers Services; Recycling Equipment & Services; Waste Recycling & Disposal Services & Equipment

When it is time to throw something away, before you discard it, determine if it can be recycled. Through recycling, materials of a product are broken down and used again to create other products. The most common materials that can be recycled are cans, glass, corrugated cardboard, newspaper, magazines and plastic.

Recycling capabilities vary by city and community so you should determine what is possible in your area before placing anything in recycling bins. Some communities provide curbside collection using a colored bin, typically blue, while other communities only have drop-off centers. Visit the Curbside Collection and Drop-Off section of this guide to verify recycling offerings in your area.

People recycling at home.Ensuring items are properly recycled is only one part of the process. Purchasing behaviors must also focus on buying products made with recycled materials. Before making a purchase, check what percentage of post-consumer recycled content it contains.

As the population continues to grow, so does the amount of waste. Land needed for building homes and expanding cities increases, leaving fewer spaces available for landfills. Making greater efforts to recycle can cut down on the amount of waste, decrease the need for more landfills and provide for a cleaning environment.



Compost

Closely considered the 4th “R” of recycling, compost (or rot) is nature’s method of recycling. It is a managed decomposition of organic material such as yard trimmings and food scraps. This can be done at a home site or commercially at a facility. By developing a compost pile at home, a large percentage of your waste will never reach the landfill. Instead, compositing turns your waste into a rich, quality organic matter that can be used to strengthen and protect your soil, flower beds and gardens.

Starting a Compost Pile
Person emptying food waste into compost bin. Establishing a compost pile in your backyard all begins with a bin. Bins can be made using scraps of wood, wire or old garbage cans. Manufactured bins can be purchased at local hardware or home improvement stores. Some cities and states have established guidelines as to how to set up a bin and what type is required for your area. To determine the guidelines in your area visit this area of the EPA’s site. Or to learn how to create your own compost site visit this EPA website link.

What Is Included
For a compost pile to be effective, the right conditions must be established for the development of organisms, fungus, bacteria and insects. The right combinations of these are required to properly breakdown the material. Developing these combinations is a lot like following a recipe. The right amount of each ingredient must be present or it will not work.

The ideal ingredients include:

Nitrogen: This chemical element is produced when green materials such as lawn clippings, landscape trimmings, fruits and vegetables are included.
Carbon: This chemical element is produced when dry yard and garden material such as dry leaves, branches, straw, wood chips and sawdust are included.
Water: Maintaining a continual presence of water and moisture will keep the composting process active. If the pile is too dry or too wet composting will stop. Proper moisture levels should be equal to a 40-60%. During warmer months, water will need to be applied frequently and during excessively rainy and colder months, the pile may need to be covered.
Air: Just like other organisms, bacteria and fungus need oxygen to live. Therefore, a steady rotation of the pile is required to ensure air is dispersed throughout the pile. A pitchfork can be used to rotate the pile or some manufactured bins include an automatic turn feature.

A balanced amount of each material is required for your compost pile to remain active and odor free. Levels can be maintained by including an even amount of both green and brown compost and offsetting it with the other once more of one ingredient is added.

Ideal Compost
Along with the items listed above, the following compost is ideal to include:

  • Eggshells
  • Fruit and vegetable remains
  • Cardboard
  • Coffee grounds and tea leaves
  • Nut shells
  • Shredded newspaper
  • Houseplants
  • Animal manure

Compost to Avoid
The following compost should not be included as they release harmful substances, cause odors, attract unwanted pests or contain parasites harmful to humans.

  • Coal or charcoal
  • Dairy products
  • Diseased plants
  • Meat or fish scraps
  • Fats, grease or oils
  • Pet waste
  • Chemically treated yard trimmings

Benefits of Composting
While deciding to compost is a major decision that requires continual maintenance and up keep, there are several benefits that make the process worth it.

Woman in garden.Enriched Soil: Composting promotes the development of microorganisms (bacteria and fungi) which break down organic matter, creating humus. Humus is a nutritionally rich substance that spreads nutrients to the soil and helps it retain moisture.

Reduces Landfills: On average, 25% of all waste can be composted. By creating a compost at home, this will save 25% of your yearly waste from ever reaching a landfill.

Eliminate Harmful Chemicals: The humus created by composting also provides a natural suppression to plant disease and keeps pests at bay. As a result, the need for additional chemical fertilizers or harmful pesticides is eliminated. Not only does this keep toxins out of your yard, it keeps dollars in your pocket!

 
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