Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle!

I had the pleasure of checking out Gershow Recycling Center in Huntington a few weeks ago, where I was given a little tour of the center and taught all about how and what to recycle. Recycling is something we all learned about when we were very little. But despite its simplicity and how often we hear about it, it does not get done as much as it should. According to Stonybrook University, recycling has decreased in Long Island. Hence, we really need to think more about what we throw away on a daily basis and make a conscious effort to change this finding. While Gershow specifically deals with recycling metals, (and will pay you for any metal you bring in!), Jonathan Abrams, manager at the Huntington recycling center, reminded me that almost ANYTHING can be recycled, as long as you bring it to the right place. Paper, plastics, metals, food — essentially any material can be recycled. In a day and age when all we hear about is how to be green, act green, reduce our carbon footprint–recycling is one of the easiest ways to do all of this. Every state and community has their own recycling “rules” to pay attention to, so not everything can be recycled everywhere. But it is important to be aware of what can be. The NY State Department of Environmental Conservation notes on their website to either contact them, or call your county, town, city or village clerk for your local recycling law. Here is a glimpse, from the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation’s website, about what recycling across NY has done:

-Paper recycling in New York State saved 6.7 million cubic yards of landfill space;
-reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 5.2 million metric tons of carbon equivalents;
-saved 231 trillion BTUs of energy;
-enough to power 2.2 million New York homes; and
-reduced the need for virgin materials

And as we enter barbecue season, if you need a new grill, recycle your old one! Here are some guidelines to follow in recycling it, courtesy of Gershow Recycling:

-first, contact your propane tank company for proper instruction on how to dispose of/empty the tank without hurting anything or anyone
-never store the tank inside a building
-clean any grease off your grill
-burn off any leftover charcoal bricks, wait for them to cool, then dispose of the coals in a non-combustible container

Moral of the story, doing something little like recycling can make a big difference. Take the time to figure out what can be recycled and what can’t, and you might even make some money off of it!

-Elsa Gillis

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