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How to Encourage Others to Recycle (Nicely)


I can’t think of any good reasons not to recycle. It’s relatively easy, affordable, saves your city money, and it can make a huge difference in the world around us—plus, hey, it just feels good! So why not extend that pleasure to your family, friends, neighbors, and community?

If you can make a huge difference on your own, imagine if you inspire a few friends, who also inspire a few others to start recycling, and then all of the sudden you’ve inspired real change. So what are a few ways you can broach the subject or subtly point others in the right direction? Let’s take a look.

  1. Lead by Example

The first way you can inspire others is by simply doing. Step up your efforts by thinking about the 3 R’s: reduce, reuse, and recycle. Start off by bringing a reusable bag along with you when you shop to avoid using plastic bags. They’re sturdier and you’ll never have to dump another plastic bag in the trash. Next time you need new furniture or clothes, shop at the thrift store, and if you’re the artistic type, reuse thrift finds or trash and repurpose them as art or decorations.

  1. Educate Yourself and Others

It’s important to know why we should recycle, but most people are already aware of the benefits. Better yet, teach people how to recycle. Depending on your community, different materials are accepted at the curb while others should be directly deposited at a recycling facility. Where are paper, plastics and plastic sheet material, glass, and aluminum to be deposited? How should they be packaged?

Once you find out the pertinent information, offer to write a column for a local newspaper or provide them the information to write their own article. You can discuss the different programs in the area and explain how they benefit the community. You’ll reach a large number of people and increase awareness.

  1. Offer your Help

I live in a duplex with an elderly woman, and I take out her garbage with my own—including recyclables. It makes a world of difference for her, and it is hardly any additional effort on my part. If you live in an apartment complex, you can offer to take the recycling down for a couple of your neighbors. This will bring awareness to your recycling efforts and make a direct impact.

  1. Reach out to Recycling Programs

If you want to get a corporation involved, there are plenty of options for assistance. For example, Nike has a Reuse-A-Shoe program that uses old shoes to create sports surfaces and playgrounds. Gather up a group and do a used-shoe drive, then donate them to the program. Places like Home Depot and Best Buy similarly recycle electronics.

[h/t Samantha W.]

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