Recycling Specialty Materials

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 11,045
    Environmental Expert Steve Coe discusses recycling specialty materials.

    Steve Coe: I am Steve Coe with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. Today, we're talking about how to recycle? And this segment is on recycling of other materials.

    The new material that most people looking to recycle these days is electronics, computers, televisions, telephones, pagers, game boys etcetera.

    If the electronic equipment that you're looking to recycle is still working, first we would suggest you look to donate that equipment to someone such as the salvation army or local churches that can use it in their programs.

    Second, you need to contact your local government about recycling opportunities for this material. A lot of local governments in the country are having collection vans or have rather collection drop off site for this material. There are also Retail Take Back programs and you can check with your local electronic store, departmental stores, office supply centers to see if they're part of any National Take Back program for different types of electronics. In one case, at least one retailer has a take back programs which will offer coupons for the electronics that you're turning in.

    The last recycling option for electronics is through the Manufacturer Take Back program. So whether there's a computer or TV or other electronics as mentioned, check to see if the manufacturer has a take back program that you can utilize either through direct mail back or taking to the local store to have material accepted for recycling.

    Other materials that can be recycled include food waste. We as Americans generate a lot of food as waste from our homes and from our offices. One way to recycle food waste is through Composting. Composting is taking materials such as food waste, or borrow material such as leaves and branches and other organics and mix them together to form a compost pile. The compost pile is where the material is reduced back to its natural ingredients or components and can be used for soil amendments or even fertilizers for our plants.

    One of the other materials that we look to recycle both at home and office are plastics. Plastic bottles that drinks come in and also plastic bags that we used when we purchase something at local stores. Plastic bags can most often be taken back to the store that you purchase your goods from. And one of the products that comes out of that is plastic lumber.

    Many local governments have a way of managing woody waste. These are tree trimmings and yard waste that come from the residents and from businesses. Material is ground up into mulch and can be used both by the local governments as parks and recreations programs, but also a many times is often free to citizens for use in their homes and at their businesses.

    One of the other materials that can't be recycled readily in most jurisdictions is automobiles. Again, if there's a donation option available to you please look to offer your vehicle to the Heart Association for example, so that they can use to sale that vehicle as funding for their programs.

    Then check in your yellow pages or with your local government about scrap metal recyclers or scrap car recyclers. Scrap yards will take the remaining metal and shred it to be made in a new steel for new products. Used always recycling may be an option where you live. If you change your own oil or other fluids from your automobile you need to be sure that you can take that material to a local recycling center to have it managed properly.

    Oil released into the environment is extremely hazardous to wildlife and to the water table. Today, we're going to be talking about how to recycle. There's a lot of information on the web and by using the various search engines you can look around, recycling of any particular materials you're interested in.

    One option is to visit your local government's webpage or your state's website. For example, you can visit DEQ, you can click on Programs, and then on Recycling and Litter Prevention. And there you'll find a wide source of information about, how to recycle, what materials would be collected for recycling and also a list of links to other organizations and other sites where you can get information about recycling, not only where you live but on particular materials.

    I hope you've taken something away from this and I've learned something new about how you can recycle. Remember recycling doesn't happen if you don't participate.