UNL Extension – helping you turn knowledge into "know how"

Cleaning & Recycling Week

Submitted by Lorene Bartos, UNL Extension Educator

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Are you thinking about spring cleaning but having trouble getting started? Perhaps Clean Your Files Week and Earth Day can help motivate you to start cleaning. This is a good time to consider the environment and recycle those things you no longer want or need.

In the last five years, over 192,000 pounds of office paper have been purged by various groups and individuals during "Clean Your Files Week." This is a good time to start recycling if you don't already do so. Plastic, glass, can (tin and aluminum), newspapers, mixed paper and cardboard can all be recycled at a local recycling drop off site in your neighborhood. There are also local recyclers that will pick up items at your home for a fee.

If you don't know where to start in cleaning and recycling, take a look at your trash and see what can be recycled. You will be surprise how the amount of trash you have each week can be decreased. A good place to start is with newspapers and mixed paper. It's simple to do – start by just taking two paper sacks, put newspapers in one and other types of papers and magazines in the other. Unwanted mail, advertisements, etc. should be opened before they are discarded. Shred or tear up anything containing personal information. Egg cartons, greeting cards, wrapping paper and catalogues may also be put with the mixed paper.

Number 1 and 2 plastic containers can be recycled. Look for the number in the recycling emblem on the bottom or side of the bottle or container. Rinse, clean and remove the lids of bottles or containers before recycling. Flatten them to save space. Colored or clear containers are accepted. Plastic items include soda bottles, milk jugs, beverage bottles, laundry and cleaning product bottles, personal care product bottles, cool whip and margarine containers, etc. Check the number on the bottom and remember lids can not be recycled.

Tin and aluminum cans should be rinsed and flattened. Labels don't need to be removed. Aluminum cans can be taken to the drop off sites or to special recycling centers for money.

Green, brown and clean food or beverage bottles can be recycled. Always remove lids and rinse before recycling. Each color has a separate recycling compartment.

Magazines can be recycled by donating them to nursing homes, child care centers, schools, etc. Check with groups you are familiar with before discarding them.

To find the drop off site closest to your home in Lincoln, Nebraska or other recycling information check the Lincoln phone book, blue pages 52 and 53.

Reduce your trash, save the environment and get your spring cleaning done at the same time. Keep up the good work if you already recycle and if not make recycling part of your daily routine. Start by cleaning one file, box or drawer this week.

Ask Lorene

(This resource was updated May 14, 2008 and appeared in the Lincoln Journal Star Newspaper Sunday edition. For information on reproducing this article or using any photographs or graphics, read the Terms of Use statement)

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University of Nebraska-Lincoln in Lancaster County
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