Recycle! Clean Your Files Week
by Lorene Bartos, Extension Educator

Is all the �stuff� around the house and garage staring you in the face? Are you wondering what to do with things no longer being used, needed or wanted? Get started and at the same time consider the environment when cleaning by recycling anything disposable. Earth Day is April 21 and April 17 - 21 is Clean Your Files Week. If recycling isn�t part of your family�s usual routine, this is a good time to begin.

Files can be anywhere � boxes, tubs, on the computer or just lying around the house. This week designate a day to clean and recycle your unneeded duplicates, non-record materials and records exceeding their legal retention. Think beyond the typical file cabinet when you get started.

In the last four years, over 200,000 pounds of office paper have been recycled during Clean Your Files Week. Deciding what to keep and what to get rid of can be a challenge. Start by thinking about what can be recycled or donated to another cause.

Paper and unwanted mail make up a lot of what ends up in the trash. Paperback books, phone books, magazines and most papers in files can be recycled. Remove the cover of hard-bond books. Consider donating magazines to nursing homes, doctor�s offices, child care centers or schools. Check with various groups.

To start, take two sacks or boxes, put only newspapers in one (inserts can stay with newspapers) and all other types of paper and magazines in another. Unwanted mail, advertisements, etc. should be opened before discarding. Shred or tear up anything containing personal information. Egg cartons, greeting cards, wrapping paper, catalogues and phone books should be put with the mixed paper.

You can recycle Number 1 and 2 plastic containers. Look for the number on the bottom of the container in the recycle emblem. Rinse, clean and remove the lids before recycling. Flattening them will save space. Colored or clear are accepted and include such things as soda and beverage bottles; milk jugs; laundry and cleaning product bottles; personal care product bottles; food containers; etc. Labels do not need to be removed.

Tin and aluminum cans should be rinsed and flattened. Aluminum cans can be taken to a drop off site or to a special recycling center for money.

Clean glass food or beverage containers (green, brown or clear) can be recycled. They may need to be separated by color at the recycling sites.

To find a drop off site in Lincoln and other recycling information check the Alltel phone book (blue pages 42-44).

Reduce your trash, save the environment and get your spring cleaning done all at the same time. Involve the family and start cleaning this week.

(This resource was added April 15, 2006 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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