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Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose Recyclables

Earn money. Many recycling plants in California offer trade-in programs where you can redeem money from the cash refund value (CRV) of plastic, glass and aluminum cans. The CRV amount for aluminum cans under 24 ounces and for glass and plastic bottles is $0.05. Containers larger than 24 ounces are redeemable for $0.10. Here in Humboldt you can take your bottles and cans to Humboldt Sanitation & Recycling in McKinleyville or the Eureka Recycling Center.

Make something new. There are so much things that can be reused and transformed into something new. Milk cartons can become bird feeders and trash can become artwork. Locally, Scrap Humboldt offers hundreds upon thousands of recycled, slightly used and new items for sale to let your creativity soar. They host creation tutorials to show people how to turn something discarded into something useful again. You can also donate your clean recyclables to their Arcata location to add to their collection of items for repurposing.

Clean them. Clean your recyclables before you toss them. Be mindful of the journey your recycling has yet to take in this consumerist chain. Besides knowing what is appropriate to recycle, it’s also important to properly prepare items before you recycle them. Cans should be rinsed clean, plastic caps should be discarded and wrappers should be torn off of containers.

Compost. Compost what you can. Paper materials like cardboard and newsprint are great materials for creating new flower and produce beds. These items don’t have to end up in the trash or even the recycling bin. Paper is great for reducing decomposition stench from compost bins and the carbon in paper can help facilitate the breakdown of waste. Just be sure the paper you use in your compost doesn’t have glossy inks like magazine paper.

Throw away the rest. You might be recycling things that aren’t recyclable. Plastics numbered with 3, 4 or 7 are sometimes not accepted by curbside recycling programs. Check your local recycling plant’s policies on what materials they accept and what they reject. Things like pizza boxes, aerosol cans, batteries and styrofoam are not recyclable. Throw items like these away or find a proper disposal. Here on campus there are several recycling hubs which offer bins for proper disposal of batteries, computer products and cellphones.

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