Slug & Lettuce used to regularly feature a section of recycling tips and eco-friendly information. A point came when I felt like the concept of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle was so obvious that I had pretty much said all I could. It's been several years now and a few people have asked what happened to the section, and the need for this information seems to be great, so I've decided to reprint some of the most basic and useful information.
For me, recycling is an obvious thing to do. It's based around an entire philosophy of life for me that is one of minimal waste and low-impact on the environment moving in the direction of self sufficiency and sustainability. At the very foundation and root of everything is conscious thought. If you think about your actions, and consider the consequences they have on other people, the community and the environment, you can make wise decisions. Of course, I'm assuming that people are all interested in "doing the right thing," and moving in a positive step to eliminate waste and live thoughtfully. If you are interested in that sort of lifestyle, which I personally think is important for everyone, then all you need to do is put a little bit of thought into what you do and how you do it: consider your lifestyle and habits, what products you use, where and how you shop, what things you really need vs. what you do not, and weigh out your priorities.
As far as recycling goes: it's all about minimizing your waste. In my eyes it all seems obvious that eliminating unnecessary garbage from cluttering up our streets and land is a positive thing. Doing this starts with each and every one of us considering the actions we take on a daily basis. It's all really simple, and though much of this advice is based around consumerism (buying products), ultimately moving as far away from "Buying Products" is the best form of "Recycling" we can do.
We must go to the root of the problem and reduce the amount of garbage we create. REDUCE the amount of garbage and unnecessary shit right from the start - be it with over-packaging on products that you need to the point of considering just whether you really NEED anything. I'm all for the minimization and put a lot of thought into not accumulating unnecessary material items as well as garbage. Put forethought into what you're buying and eliminate unnecessary packaging and garbage. Look at your trash and get familiar with what you use, and then reduce your waste.
REUSE: either reuse things for their original use, or be creative and think up alternate uses, or else pass along items you no longer want... either to friends or organizations (thrift stores, schools, community groups, yard sales, etc.) Do not waste things.
Then everything else should be able to be RECYCLED. Either though curbside collection or through centers in the community. Aluminum, Tin, Glass, Newspaper, Cardboard, Paper and Plastic are the basic recyclables. SEPARATE reusable and recyclable items at the time of disposal, by cleaning out the containers, bottles, etc. at the time of use, dry them and put in their own place. Recycling can be very simple, if organized. Be alert to laws requiring separation of reusable and recyclable materials from solid waste.
Because we have such a dependency on non-renewable resources and are essentially raping the earth constantly - it is extremely important to come up with new and better ways of living a less damaging and harsh- impacting lifestyle. And if that means carrying your own mug for coffee and beverages, not taking paper bags when you shop, and not leaving the faucet run water that you are not using - then you are making a big contribution towards eliminating waste. These things can continually be taken one step further and moved into a more pure and idealistic place. Consider what you could do and always think what could be better and less wasteful or harmful. That idealistic place would be complete self sufficiency and sustainability. In other words providing all of your resources and needs, on your own - growing and making everything - the truly Do-It-Yourself way!!
Recycling is just the beginning of a much bigger picture of an entire lifestyle. But it is also an important and very simple first step. The information here is pretty basic, but it's stuff that I feel is relevant and applicable to just about any and everyone.