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How to Recycle Anything

It's easy to make recycling part of your everyday life


What can you recycle? These days, just about anything. The following is an easy list of recycling options to help you get the facts about recycling glass, plastic and electronics, paper, cardboard and auto supplies like tires and car batteries.

Be aware that recycling regulations vary from city to city, so you may want to contact your local waste management service or municipal government to get their requirements on how to recycle in your community. If you're not sure whom to call, check out the helpful recycling listings on Earth911.com.

Recycling Symbols Explained

Recycling symbols can be confusing -- there are dozens of different symbols, some with numbered codes, others with strange acronyms, and still others that don't even look like recycling symbols at all. Get the facts on the most widely used recycling symbols in North America.

Glass Recycling

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Glass recycling turns used glass products back into "new" glass products. By some estimates, recycling glass uses 40 percent less energy than creating new glass. Recycled glass also creates about 20 percent less air pollution and 50 percent less water pollution. But which glass items can be recycled, and which cannot? Get the facts on recycling glass.

Plastic Recycling

Plastic recycling is, unfortunately, a relatively inefficient process. Though much of our modern world is made up of plastics, not all of them can be recycled, and almost all of them are "downcycled" into lower-quality plastics. Find out what you can do about plastics and plastic recycling.

Recycling Cardboard

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Recycling cardboard and paperboard is easy, and some 77 percent of cardboard is now recycled, according to the EPA. Not all cardboard can be recycled, however. Get the facts on recycling cardboard, paperboard and other heavy paper packaging materials.

Aluminum Recycling and Recycling Other Metals

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Aluminum recycling and can recycling is one of the environmental movement's great success stories. In many places, well over 95 percent of all aluminum is recycled. Aluminum recycling has grown immensely since the widespread introduction of aluminum cans in the 1960s. In 1972, about 24,000 metric tons of aluminum cans were recycled -- by 1998, that amount had increased to over 879,000 metric tons.

Recycling Oil, Tires and Other Auto Supplies

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Here's information on how to dispose of oil and some interesting facts about tire recycling. Check back soon for tips on how to recycle batteries and other auto supplies.

Recycling Electronics

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Recycling electronics still isn't as easy as it should be, despite the amount of heavy metals and other hazardous components in TV sets, computers, cell phones and other electronic devices. Americans now own about 24 electronic devices per household, according to the EPA, and many of these get replaced regularly. Fortunately, recycling electronics is becoming more popular, and about 100 million pounds of material is recovered from electronics recycling plants each year.

Christmas Tree Recycling

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Here's some good news: Christmas tree recycling has become much easier in recent years, and there are now more smart, green ways to dispose of your Christmas tree. If you can't reuse it on your property, chances are your local community has a program for curbside pickup or a drop-off location.

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