North York Consumer: 3R's Reduce, Re-use, Recycle
The 3Rs of environmentalism are Reduce, Re-use, and Recycle
While recycling is important, consumers can achieve better results by using less and consuming more efficiently. Some goods are designed and made to be used over and over, while wasteful goods are use-once (using a re-usable lighter compared to disposable matches, for example).
Other goods can be re-used in another way, sometimes completely unrelated to the original purpose. There is a company in the Philippines that recycle consumer packaging into highly sought-after women's purses.
In order to help with the recycling process, a green home should set aside bins to separate and collect recyclable materials:
- Paper: newspapers, white paper, magazines, and cardboard
- Bottles: clear and colored glass, plastic water and milk bottles,
- Metals & toxics: aluminum, batteries and fluorescent light bulbs.
- Plastics: foam packing peanuts, expanded styrofoam
- Electronics: computers, monitors, cell phones and other electronics
Check with your local trash-collection company, municipal government or business directory to find out what recycling services are available.
Today, many unusual items are recycled, by breaking them down into their high-value component materials. Mattresses, for example, are made from metal, cotton fibre, and foam. Automotive tires are broken down into steel, rubber, and high-tensile fibres. Other items are recycled by businesses that are selling them or their replacement products: batteries, dry-cleaning hangers and plastic, electronics.
When these items are re-cycled, they are broken down and become re-used as raw materials in the manufacture of other products