Nowadays you can recycle a lot more than just a soda can or a newspaper. But in the state of South Carolina, each person throws away about 3.9 pounds of waste directly in the trash every day. That number adds up, but it doesn't have to if you knew exactly what can be recycled.
"Rethink before you throw that item in the trash and ask yourself, can it be recycled?" says Aurelia Smith of Santee Cooper.
Most of the time that answer is yes. Many businesses make it easy to do your part to help the environment with recycling containers. It can be simple at home too.
Purchase a separate garbage can for recycling only and place it right next to a waste only garbage can.
"Almost every piece of paper that you touch today can be recycled. Newspapers, magazines, junk mail, mailing envelopes, little post-it notes," Smith says.
Soda, cereal, and snack boxes also fall into this category. No. 1 plastic used to be the only kind of plastic that was recycled. Now plastics No. 1-5 are considered recyclable.
Soda bottles, yogurt cups, butter tubs, peanut butter jars, syrup bottles, and even salad dressing containers are recyclable. If you eat a microwaveable meal for lunch, don't forget to put the box and plastic tray in the recycling bin. When it comes to items made of metal, anything from a can of soup to canned tuna can also be recycled. Recycling doesn't only cut back on product waste, it also cuts back on energy waste.
"It takes petroleum to make, but it also takes 90 percent less electricity to make plastic from plastic than to start from the virgin materials," says Smith.
Many companies sell products made directly from renewable materials. Certain carpets are made from recycled plastic alone.
"Buy something plastic. It could be made out of recycled plastic such as my paint tray. It says made in the USA out of recycled plastic. It's a No. 1 plastic, so not only did I buy recycled, but now I can turn around and recycle it back when I'm done," she says.
This is something everyone can do by recycling instead of allowing waste to pile up in the landfill.
Other common recyclables in Horry and Georgetown Counties
Used motor oil
Used cooking oil
For questions about recycling in Horry County visit www.thesolidwasteauthority.org.
In Georgetown County visit www.georgetowncountysc.org/recycling/default.html.
In Brunswick County, go to www.brunswickcountync.gov/Departments/SolidWasteandRecycling/tabid/409/Default.aspx.