Recycling for Rookies

Recycling. We are all familiar with the term. But for many, recycling is just that…a term or a concept. Many are not ready to make the leap to separating paper and plastic, or rinsing out, and removing labels, from glass bottles. Recycling can seem like an overwhelming task. In the spirit of Earth Day, I’d like to encourage everyone to start recycling. Recycling is a great way to protect our environment and stimulate our economy. So let’s start with a few simple tips for us newbies.

  1. Junk Mail. Each year, more than 100 million trees’ worth of bulk mail arrive in American mailboxes. Put the kibosh on extra paper in your mailbox by putting a Stop to Junk Mail.
  2. Shopping Bags. A plastic shopping bag can take anywhere from 15 to 1000 years to decompose. Aside from the obvious environmental benefits, there are also cost savings associated with reusable grocery bags. Many retailers  are offering discounts if you bring your own shopping bags. For example Target offers a five-cent discount when you use your own bag. Cities around the country are requiring retailers to charge for plastic bags including: Washington DC, Austin, San Diego, and San Francisco. Currently, three states – California, Massachusetts and Washington are considering legislation that would ban single-use bags. So get ahead of the curve now and start using reusable shopping bags. Envirosax has some stylish options like the Organic Cotton Bag.
  3. Plastic Bottles. According to, Americans used about 50 billion plastic water bottles n 2012. Of those only 23% were recycled. So ditch the single use plastic bottles and opt for a reusable water bottle! There are some great options out there! I especially like the new Grayl Filtration Cup.
  4. Batteries. Every household uses batteries for one purpose or another. Replace the single use alkaline batteries you currently use with environmentally friendly, rechargeable batteries that last longer and can be used hundreds of times.
  5. Compost.  There are countless things you can compost — and not just fruit and veggie scraps.  See an extensive list on what you should and should not compost.  Some UDR apartment communities like Highlands of Marin in San Rafael are even starting community-wide composts.

Theses are just a few baby-steps to going green. If you have any other tips, feel free to share!


Amy Johnson

is UDR’s budding social media guru, and has been instrumental in constructing the brand’s content strategy. After graduating from University of Colorado- Boulder, she started working for UDR as a marketing intern. When she isn’t perusing the web for the perfect pins and Facebook posts, she can be found hiking somewhere with her dog Rory.

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