Regular blog readers know we are big fans of recycling. We believe in it so much that we encourage people to stop buying alkaline batteries and replace them with rechargeable lithium-ion products. You can easily recycle lithium-ion batteries by dropping them off at a local collection site and they are made of materials valuable enough to ensure they will actually get recycled. Alkalines are often incinerated or landfilled (only 5% are recycled) since their constituent materials are not valuable enough to justify recycling.
As for where to recycle your batteries, there are thousands of sites across the country. You can find a lithium-ion battery collection site near you by visiting the Call2Recycle website and entering your ZIP Code. Home improvement stores, electronics stores, pharmacies, and other retail stores act as collection sites. As for recycling in general, it goes way beyond just batteries.
To get you in the recycling mood, here are our top summer sustainability and recycling tips:
1. Use Paper or Cloth Shopping Bags
Quick, unplanned trips to the grocery store are typical during the summer months. You need supplies for that backyard party or the day trip you are taking. But rather than pack your purchases in single-use plastic bags, use paper or cloth bags instead. Just leave a few in the car so you'll always have them handy.
2. Carry a Refillable Bottle
Even though PET plastic is the most recycled plastic in the world, it is also a big polluter. You can avoid it by choosing a refillable water bottle instead. Get an insulated, stainless-steel bottle and you will always have a cold beverage at your fingertips.
3. Choose Reusable Containers
When you're packing food for your outdoor activities, choose reusable containers instead of single-use plastic bags, plastic wrapping, and foil. You probably have reusable containers around the house already. And if not, you can buy them pretty cheaply.
4. Bring Your Own Silverware
As long as we're talking food, make this summer the summer you stop using plastic utensils. Bring silverware from home. It doesn't take up much space and you can wash and reuse it endlessly. Single-use plastic utensils only take up space in landfills.
5. Return Those Cans and Bottles
If you live in a state with can and bottle redemption laws, take advantage of them. Do not throw your empty cans and bottles in the trash. Collect them and take them back for redemption. If you don't want the hassle of going to the redemption center, donate the cans and bottles. There is likely a youth group or some other organization more than happy to take them off your hands.
6. Recycle Your Old Electronics
This might be the summer you replace your phone or camera. You might buy a new MP3 player or sports cam. Perhaps even a new laptop is on the radar. At any rate, recycle your old electronics by dropping them off at a local collection center. Just like with batteries, there are thousands of locations around the country accepting old electronics.
7. Look for Products Made with Recycled Materials
There are occasions, especially during the summer months, when you want to buy single-use products – like paper plates and napkins, for example. When it's necessary, look for products made with recycled materials. A recycled paper plate is far better for sustainability than a plastic plate. Paper straws are better for the environment than their plastic counterparts.
8. Use Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Batteries
When it comes to powering your battery-operated devices— like toothbrushes, flashlights, and remotes to name a few— We recommend using Pale Blue Earth’s rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. Not only are they going to last longer than disposable batteries, but you’ll also save money, waste, and trips to the store over time by getting 1000+ charges out of each battery.
We have several other suggestions, but not enough time or space to deal with them. So, let's close by saying this: sustainability and recycling are worthwhile pursuits. This summer, as you are out and about enjoying the blue skies and sunshine, keep in mind that future generations will want to enjoy the same thing. We can all help make that possible by taking care of the planet while we are here.