Shoppers, are you ready for the “buy-recycled” challenge?
In today’s diet-crazed world, reading the fine print on food labels is as much a habit as reading the local newspaper or sneaking a peek at our horoscope. After all, a list of ingredients helps us decide whether a food product is “good” for us or not. Making a habit of reading labels on non-food items is also important, because buying products made from recycled-content materials is definitely good for our environment and for Ohio’s great outdoors.
Recycled-content products are one piece of the puzzle to reducing the amount of trash we create. The average Ohioan throws away enough trash and garbage during their lifetime to equal more than 600 times their own adult weight. Figure it out. If you weigh 150 pounds, you'll leave behind more than 90,000 pounds of trash for future genera-tions. That's a 45-ton legacy for your children and grand-children to deal with. Most of that garbage is going to landfills.
Many Ohioans are making a difference with all of this trash by following the three “Rs”: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. But as consumers, we can make a fourth wise choice every time we buy Recycled-content products.
Today, many of our most frequently used products are made from recycled-content materials, such as printer paper, garbage and lawn bags, and a variety of building products. Recycled plastic is even used to make insulation for winter coats and quilts.
Sometimes, recycled-content products cost more than their non-recycled competition, but that difference will most often be offset by savings in maintenance. Recycled aluminum roofing shingles cost more than some alternatives, but have a longer warranty. Plastic lumber decking is more expensive than wood, but it lasts longer and requires no painting or varnishing.
There are many lawn and garden items made from recycled materials, such as birdfeeders, benches, tables, planters, trellises, edging, fencing, and landscape timbers. Be the first on your block to have mulch made from recycled tires, which also comes in a variety of colors.
You might not even be aware that some of the products you already buy are made from recycled material. Aluminum cans, for example, are made from 51 percent recycled aluminum. Cereal boxes come from almost all recycled paper and cardboard. Even our carpeting contains recycled plastic. Some other recycled-content products that are not so obvious include retreaded tires, reconditioned batteries and remanufactured computers.
When you take up the “buy recycled” shopping challenge, you’ll most likely find the quality will be the same or better as products made from brand new resources. Recycled-content office supplies and paper products are becoming more and more easy to find. "Buy Recycled" should be every shopper's motto.
Also, savvy manufacturers know that what goes into a product often determines whether or not it ends up our shopping carts. Contact those companies whose products you buy and let them know how important it is to you that they carry recycled-content product lines.
Here’s another simple trash-reducing tip: Buy products and packaging that won't add needless trash. Reuse old containers whenever possible. If you've always bought disposable products, consider buying reusable alternatives. Avoid buying products that come with wasteful layers of packaging.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Buy Recycled. These are the keys to wise use of our natural resources and protecting Ohio's quality of life. Learn to put these four recycling steps to work.
For more information about how you can make a difference in the world of recycling, contact your local recycling program or solid waste management district or go online at ohiodnr.com