Recycling for Dummies by Sarah Winkler

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Recycling for Dummies by Sarah Winkler

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Category: Lifestyle
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The Recycler's bible: find all you need to know in one place.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 400 Date: March 2023
Publisher: For Dummies
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1394159543

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Recycling one ton of plastic can save up to 16.3 barrels of oil.

Recycling one ton of paper can save 17 trees from being cut down.

If you send an apple core to landfill, it will take between 6 months and 2 years to decompose. A glass bottle will take up to 1 million years.

As a just-post-WWII baby, I faced a dilemma: reducing, reusing and recycling is part of my DNA. NEVER throw away anything that might possibly come in handy now or in the future. NEVER buy anything if you can cobble together something that would serve the purpose. Almost everything can be used one more time and any purchase must pass the test of 'Is this absolutely essential?' On the other hand, I suspected I was guilty of wishcycling: assuming that something must be recyclable (toothpaste tubes - I'm looking at you) and dropping it in the kerbside bin. Yes, I could go searching on the internet - and get conflicting advice - but what I needed was a recycling bible.

That was when Recycling for Dummies dropped onto my desk. If you're familiar with the For Dummies franchise, you'll know what to expect. Forget flowery language and prepare for bullet points and clarity. Reviewers get to read books like this from cover to cover but you don't have to: this is essentially a reference book. It has a reasonably good index and you can look up the possibilities for whatever is working its way to the general waste bin.

This isn't just a book about what you can recycle. It's the story of why recycling is important, how it works - and why, on occasions, it doesn't work. It's inspirational: you're never going to feel guilt-tripped into doing something you don't want to do. You're going to feel that it's the sensible, the simple thing to do. There are even tips on how to reduce your food waste. That's not just good for the planet, it helps the wallet too. There's a simple approach: we're told what can be recycled no matter where you live, what can't be recycled in any curbside service and what you need to check to see what your local area accepts.

For packaging which can't be recycled locally, there's a reference to Terracycle. I've tried to be charitable: perhaps I live in a blackspot for recycling drop-off points but I came away from the site, not just no wiser but wondering if recycling is such a good idea. I could have recycled my Ferrero Rocher wrapping quite simply but toothpaste tubes were more of a problem. I can't see any point in driving for miles to drop off a bag of stuff that I can't recycle locally. This isn't the fault of Recycling for Dummies though but it does highlight that more needs to be done to reduce the use of some things or to make recycling easier.

It's a brilliant book. It hasn't just informed me - it's made me think about how I buy and where I could be more savvy. It's a book I'll return to time and time again. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

Children might appreciate Garbology Kids: Where Do Recyclable Materials Go? by Sabbithry Persad as an introduction to recycling.

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