Toilet paper rolls. Toothpaste boxes. Empty prescription bottles. Shampoo bottles. They’re all found in your bathroom and, yes, they’re all fully recyclable.
We’re doing a great job recycling in the kitchen (glass, plastic, cans) and other rooms (newspaper, cardboard boxes, wrapping paper). But according to new research by the Ad Council, while 45 percent of Americans have a recycling bin in their kitchen (and it’s likely much higher than that here!), only 10 percent have a recycling bin in their bathroom. More than half say they’re not sure which bathroom items can be recycled.
To motivate more bathroom recycling, nonprofits Keep American Beautiful and the Ad Council have launched a bathroom-oriented ad campaign of “I Want To Be Recycled,” showing common items that can be recycled and what they are yearning to become. For example, shampoo bottles would like to become combs and hairbrushes. And empty prescription bottles want to become cups.
How to do it? You don’t need to rinse any plastic bottles; just use up the contents, replace the cap and recycle. Take the label off prescription bottles and be sure they’re empty (go to RecycleSmart.org/hhw for where to dispose of unused medications). The only things you can’t recycle are aerosol cans and toothbrushes, so look at them sadly, and toss them out.
You can get up to 4 additional curbside collections each year for recyclables and/or yard trimmings at no additional charge. (For all the additional toilet paper rolls!) Plus you can get 1 additional collection for non-recyclables. Call Republic Services at (925) 685-4711 to schedule a pickup.
At first glance, you might not notice anything different. Then you see…solar panels on a trash can?!
Downtown Walnut Creek is the first City in Contra Costa County to install state-of-the-art, solar-powered Bigbelly trash and recycling bins. The 35 new bins replace all the conventional trash and recycling bins and hold five times the amount. They use solar power to compact both trash and recyclables. Wireless technology automatically notifies City staff when bins are almost full and need to be emptied.
“We’re excited to provide bins that will keep our streets cleaner and be more efficient to maintain,” says Public Works Manager Mike Vickers. Fewer pickups mean fewer trucks rumbling downtown and fewer fuel emissions from the trucks. The Bigbelly bins are funded by selling recyclables, in partnership with RecycleSmart.
Here's How To Handle Hazardous Waste
What happens if you pour unwanted paints, medications or chemicals down the drain? They “pass through” to the ocean because wastewater treatment plants aren’t designed to remove them. Motor oil in storm drains also flows directly to the ocean. And what about televisions, computers and other electronics in landfill? Their toxic chemicals can contaminate soil and groundwater—plus their valuable and reusable metals and other resources are locked in the landfill forever. But we have you covered: Call Republic Services or check our website for convenient places to get rid of what you can’t put in your carts.
Danville residents, your single-family homes diverted 67% of waste away from the landfill in 2016. Did you know that 80% of waste can go into your green or blue recycling carts? Stretch goal: can you make it to 75% diversion by 2020?
RecycleSmart, in partnership with Mt. Diablo Recycling, conducts a student scholarship program to inspire and reward student leaders who have helped reduce waste at their high schools. The 2017 awards go to:
Campolindo High School
Shelby implemented a new recycling and composting program on campus. Once she gained support from the administration, she ordered bins, organized work parties, set up the stations, educated her peers, and continues to monitor the stations to ensure proper sorting. It’s now Campolindo vs. Acalanes: which school can recycle most? Stay tuned…
San Ramon Valley High School
Six team members share the award: Riley Arbuckle, Tiffany Chu, Christina Gallup, Madison Lake, Andrea Lapuz and Amy Zhang. They designed a campus-wide program for recycling bottles, cans and paper. They also introduced food scrap collection. To make recycling easy, they got recycling bins placed next to every single trash bin on campus, labeled so it’s clear what to put in. Then, using the proceeds from their recycling efforts, they purchased a water bottle filling station to promote the use of reusable water bottles.
Photo from left: Riley Arbuckle, Christina Gallup, Andrea Lapuz, Amy Zhang, Tiffany Chu, Madison Lake and Shelby Bocks.
Scholarship applications for 2018 are now available at RecycleSmart.org/schools.
Pots of colorful molten wax bubbled on Bryan Ware’s stove—a gooey cauldron of used and broken crayons being melted to use again.
The nonprofit Crayon Initiative has set up crayon recycling boxes—funded by RecycleSmart—in elementary schools throughout the RecycleSmart area. So far, Bryan has collected 90,000 pounds of crayons, with the additional help of groups across the country.
Crayons are sorted into like colors, melted, reformed into new crayons and boxed in sets of 8 colors. Bryan has donated 240,000 crayons to 55 children’s hospitals in 18 states. He’s now moved the operation to a storefront in downtown Danville, where volunteers can come to sort and pack.
It’s a triple win. Schools have just a little less waste to haul. Landfills don’t have tons of crayons—they’re not biodegradable. “And best of all, it’s great for kids who are hospitalized,” Ware says. “They get a chance to play and escape the world they’re in for a little while.” You’ll find more information at thecrayoninitiative.org.
Get out your marbles for a new game using toilet paper rolls. You’ll need to collect 10 rolls. Here’s how to make the game:
Cut a small opening at one end of each roll
Paint the rolls different colors, with a white circle in the middle of each roll
Draw the numbers 1–10 in the white circles
When they’re dry, stand them up on a flat surface in any order
Everyone gets the same number of marbles. Take turns rolling the marbles into the openings. Aim for the highest numbers because your score is the total of the numbers your marbles roll into. High score wins! (You can still recycle the rolls after you’re done playing.)