5 most wasteful household items

Spring forward! If you have a battery-operated clock, a clock on your microwave or oven, or any old-fashioned plug-in clock, you will have to manually advance the time by one hour.

For the rest of timepieces that are connected to the internet…it’s been done for you. Some safety things to note with this time change: the number of vehicle accidents and visits to the emergency room usually increase during the week of this time change, so be especially careful.

Some things to keep in mind for this time shift are to continue to get at least seven hours or more of sleep every day, go to bed and get up at the same time each day. Limit food and drink before bedtime to get the best quality sleep that you can. Spend more time outdoors to help your systems adjust to sunlight naturally.

Besides the safety concerns, get outside and enjoy the extra daylight at the end of the day! Mornings will get brighter soon, too.

Some recycling questions have been posed, and I’ll try to answer them as best as I can!

Caps on plastic bottles…leave them on or remove before recycling? According to the plastic recycling experts, the best practice is to first rinse bottles, slightly squeeze to remove some air, then recap before recycling.

The caps will stay on enough to get through the sort process and the entire plastic bottle will make it to the shredding process. As the shredded material is washed, the PET (bottle material) will sink to the bottom, the shredded caps will float, and the recycler will have two different plastic stock materials to work with. So…caps stay on. The plastic labels on plastic bottles will also be removed by the shredding and washing process

5 most wasteful household items

Colored plastic is recyclable, even the black containers from coffee. Most places, including Gaston County, will not accept the black containers from take-out foods…remember to be sure, there needs to be some form of narrowing of the neck…as minor as that narrowing is on a coffee container, but never from takeout foods.

Tape on cardboard boxes: If you can remove it, pull it off. If you have sliced through the tape, the tape will float off as the cardboard is recycled.

So, here’s a list of the most wasteful common household items:

1. Water bottles! We are so blessed in this county to have reliable and clean drinking water. A reusable water bottle filled from the tap is the best way to avoid recycling them! If you have water that smells of sulfur or chlorine, I understand the need for buying water.

2. Plastic wrap for leftover foods: Tupperware (or knock-offs) to the rescue! Maybe even those black take out containers that you can’t recycle!

3. Plastic cutlery: pack yourself a knife fork and spoon and eliminate the need for this single use throw-away item…they don’t recycle, they are wasteful.

4. Single serve juice boxes: it’s not hard to plan and pack sippy cups and real juice for the kids…saves money and landfill space.

5. Single use…anything! Especially plastic shopping bags or straws. If you must use disposable diapers, then compromise and get yourself reusable shopping bags. There are times when we are caught without the reusable item…but don’t make a habit of it! The world’s leaders are working on the reduction of plastics and encourage more plastic recycling. It could be another viable option to preserve oil for energy use and not plastic production…just saying!

Nan Kirlin is the recycling coordinator for Gaston County.