22 Tips to Help Our Environment in 2022 January 18, 2022 Email Are you still looking for a New Year’s resolution? How about setting earth-friendly goals such as recycling right and caring for our environment? Recycling reduces waste, keeps recyclable materials out of the landfill and helps protect the environment. Recycling also saves energy and valuable natural resources and even creates jobs. How can you make these earth-friendly goals a permanent habit? While changing your recycling behaviors may not become automatic overnight, we’re sharing 22 tips to get you on the right path this New Year. Empty and scrape containers before recycling. Recycling markets require high-quality, clean materials. To make sure your recyclables meet these standards, empty and scrape out food and liquids. Items don’t have to be dishwasher-spotless to be recycled. Just grab a utensil and empty and scrape out any remaining food or liquids before recycling. Remember: Food-soiled containers belong in the garbage. Reuse plastic bags from the grocery store for various uses at home. Use them to organize and store items at home. Otherwise, place them in the garbage. No plastic bags, wraps or films in your recycling container. These items tangle and clog the machinery used to process recyclables, creating operational and safety hazards for workers. You can recycle clean plastic bags by bringing them to a drop-off location. Bring your own tote bag when shopping. Save your change and bring your own bags when shopping! Show off your unique style by bringing reusable tote bags that you decorate yourself. Select lighter packaging. Less material means less packaging waste, and lighter weight can result in reduced fuel use and fewer emissions to transport food and other products. Refuse plastic utensils when ordering takeout. Use washable table napkins instead of paper napkins. Reduce food waste. Take only what you need. Sending uneaten food and organic waste into landfills contributes to 20% of the state’s methane emissions. Check out these food reduction tips and tricks. Use dishcloths instead of using paper towels. Reduce waste and save money! Consider purchasing glass containers for your leftovers. Use a reusable water bottle. Conserve water and take shorter showers. The City of San José has declared a 15% water conservation target in response to the drought, and we need your help to conserve water and meet this goal. Learn more about easy steps you can take to save water. Reduce your carbon footprint and carpool/take public transit. Empty and flatten cardboard boxes. When cardboard boxes are not flattened before recycling, containers overfill quickly. Before recycling a flattened box, it’s important to remove, separate and properly sort other packaging. Plastic bags, air pillows and Styrofoam are not allowed in recycling carts and bins. Repurpose! Reuse products in different ways. Compost at home. Create a compost bin and throw food scraps and various types of yard waste into your compost bin to help your gardens grow healthy and strong. Learn how to compost at home. Buy pre-loved items. Find great and unique finds at thrift stores! Dispose of larger items responsibly. Do you have items that are too damaged to be donated? Use the City of San José’s FREE Junk Pickup program. Learn more about what items that can be picked up free of charge. Dispose of household hazardous waste correctly. Household Hazardous Waste (HHW), such as batteries and chemicals, can cause physical injury to workers, cause fires, and damage trucks and equipment. Dispose of HHW properly by scheduling a free drop-off appointment. Volunteer your time and make a difference to #keepSJclean. Find volunteer opportunities here. Put an end to “wishcycling.” If you don’t know where an item goes, don’t have time to look it up, or can’t find it on SanJoseRecycles.org, place it in the garbage. Do not “wishcycle” and put something in the recycling because you think it should be recycled or hope that it will get recycled. Subscribe to The Loop. Stay informed with The Loop, our monthly newsletter. Each issue features updates and tips on recycling and garbage collection, waste reduction and more. Visit bit.ly/TheLoop_signup to subscribe.