How to Reduce, Reuse, & Recycle. Going Green Basics for Every Senior to Enjoy and Share

March 8, 2022

 Recycling saves resources and the climate! Paper, glass, or plastic – recycling is possible for most materials; however, nowhere do these achieve a recycling rate of 100 %. So, does recycling have any ecological advantages? How can Seniors contribute?

The better waste is sorted, the more can be recycled. Recycling requires fewer resources, but it also saves a lot of energy, protecting the climate. Natural organic waste, properly recycled, can become fertilizer and soil and thus provide new life again and again according to the recycling principle. Paper can be recycled up to seven times, and glass can be remelted infinite times without any loss of quality if recycled properly.

Helping the environment need not only be through recycling either. Sometimes it’s simply about keeping our water, soil, and air safe. Almost everything can be recycled, from wine corks to crayons, from toothbrushes to eyeglasses. You can recycle old phones, even those old VCR and cassette tapes you’ve been hanging on to. Did you know there is a National Day for disposing of prescription drugs?

“Plastic waste is one of many types of wastes that take too long to decompose. Normally, plastic items can take up to 1,000 years to decompose in landfills. Even the plastic bags we use in our everyday life take anywhere from 10 to 1,000 years to decompose, and plastic bottles can take 450 years or more.” RECYCLING Magazine 

Some Recycling Statistics to Keep in Mind for 2022

  • On average, we each produce about 1,600 pounds of garbage every year.
  • The US produces 2.12 billion tons of waste every year on a global level.
  • About 68% of paper and paperboard is recycled.
  • 91% of plastic waste isn’t recycled.
  • Approximately 3 million tons of glass containers were recycled in the US in 2017.
  • About 1.9 million tons of aluminum packaging waste (foil, etc.) was generated in 2018, and 38% was recycled.


9 Recycling Tips for Seniors for Fun and Profit

How to recycle you ask? Our society has changed a lot. Seniors mostly grew up when much was reused or repaired -- there was never anything needing recycling because very little was thrown away. It’s often more expensive to fix something than to buy a new one. If anyone can save the planet, it’s probably smart seniors! Unfortunately, we’re not going to get back to the good old days, and as seniors make up a growing percentage of the population, it’s becoming our responsibility. 

  1. Make recycling fun. Gamify your garbage disposal! What about an app on your smartphone? There are many recycling apps to inform and make it more fun.

  1. Use only returnable containers that include a deposit. Avoid those disposable drink containers.

  1. Give it away instead of throwing it away. Don’t forget to donate and sell rather than throw away, especially when you’re moving or downsizing.

  1. Repair items instead of throwing them away. Your local charity or school would be happy for any appliance you donate. They can fix it up or use it for a class.

  1. Get involved in the community. You could organize a recycling program in your community. Go gently, though! People might be sensitive to a self-appointed garbage warden.

  1. Avoid over-packaged items. Bananas on a plastic tray, wrapped in plastic. Crazy, right? 

  1. Don’t throw anything away, and save money in the kitchen. Cooking and recycling go so hand in hand! Remember drinking the vegetable water? And how many ways can you use a chicken? This is a great way to save money as well. Waste management for seniors 101, right?

  1. Buy durable items that won’t need to be replaced. You save money in the end and you help save things being thrown away.

  1. Let your fingers do the searching. If you run out of ideas or can’t think of any, there are many in this article. You can also Google some recycling tips. 

There are so many ways you can promote an eco-friendly lifestyle for seniors in your community!

“If you love gardening but find an outside garden harder to manage, or if you live in a senior community that doesn’t have a community garden, create one in your living space. Start with a small herb garden that takes up only a small portion of space. Plant the herbs you love most, like basil, oregano, cilantro, and even chives. If you don’t cook your own meals, you’ll at least be able to season the meals you get.” Earth911

Hot Tip for your garden: Seed and small plants grow well in those plastic yogurt containers you’ve been saving.

Seniors Have Always Been Smart Savers 

Recycling isn’t just about washing out your tin cans and taking them to the depot. There are ways you can save money by being more sustainable in your habits.

  • Understand your energy bill -- turn off unnecessary lights
  • Charge appliances overnight if the electricity is cheaper then
  • Use energy-efficient light bulbs
  • Make use of natural lighting
  • Avoid heating or cooling unused areas
  • Replace your desktop computer with a laptop
  • Use cloth bags instead of plastic ones at the store
  • Print only what is necessary
  • Use a water reduction filter
  • Use both sides of the paper
  • Take your own cup, bottle, or container to the market
  • Walk or bike instead of driving to the corner -- if you can

A penny saved is a penny earned, right? Well, saving the planet might seem like a tall order if we’re talking about returning our glass bottles to the depot. You may be unfamiliar with some recycling concepts at first, but anyone can reduce, recycle, and reuse! Proper disposal increases the recycling rate, conserving resources and energy. Keeping unrecyclable materials out of our water, soil, and air help keep our environment clean – for ourselves and our grandkids!

Many more recycling ideas and resources can be found on this site

“Reported recycling rate is the highest among younger generations where 92 percent of respondents between 18 and 34 years stated that they recycled, while only 68 percent of those over 65 years old reported recycling.” Statista

Are You Ready to Reduce, Recycle and Reuse?

Share this article! Don’t throw it away. 

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