National Recycling Day: Ways You Can Recycle in Hamilton County

An individual recycles their water bottle in a recycling bin.

November 15 is National Recycling Day. You may be thinking, “Shouldn’t we be recycling every day?” Of course we should! But having this special day set aside to recognize recycling’s importance is still relevant and can bring about positive change.

Recent studies show somewhere between 30%–35% of Americans recycle. That is about 67 million tons recycled out of the approximate 268 million tons of trash we produce annually. On a positive note, the U.S. recycles about 65% of its aluminum (perhaps because of how common and accessible we’ve made recycling aluminum cans over the decades). However, it is estimated that Americans throw away over 60 million single use plastic water bottles each day! Taking the opportunity to educate and raise awareness about recycling, purchasing recycled products, re-using and repurposing used/unwanted items is always a good thing.

What can you do?

Rumpke offers recycling for many items, including cartons, glass bottle, aluminum cans, and plastic tubs.
Rumpke has expanded what items they accept for recycling. (Photo: Doug Stevenson)

Find out what materials your trash collector will recycle (both at work and at home). Glass and plastic bottles, aluminum cans, paper, and cardboard are the most common, but more items are becoming recyclable as waste companies learn how to properly process them for reuse. Rumpke, for example, has a list of items accepted in our region and updates it regularly. Some of the newer items they now accept include cartons, plastic tubs, and plastic cups (not including straws). A complete list of recyclable (and non-recyclable) items can be found on the Rumpke website.

The Cincinnati Recycling & Reuse Hub works to recycle, reuse, or repurpose items that cannot be placed in the regular recycling.
From silica packets and bread tags, to prescription bottles and Taco Bell sauce packets, Cincinnati Recycling & Reuse Hub takes a variety of items. (Photo: Doug Stevenson)

Some items, like electronics or batteries, cannot be recycled and should not be thrown in the regular garbage in efforts to keep the hazardous materials they contain from leaching out into landfills and the environment. Cincinnati Recycling & Reuse Hub is a wonderful local resource that helps get most “non-recyclable” items into the hands of companies and individuals that will recycle, reuse or repurpose them. One visit to their hub will change the way you think about keeping waste out of landfills. They even have a container for empty Taco Bell sauce packets! For more information on what they accept, hours and items with fees, check out their website.

Donating, buying and selling used goods at thrift stores, yard sales, online and flea markets is another great way to keep items out of landfills and get them into the hands of people who will continue to use or cherish them.

What is Great Parks doing?

You may have seen new blue recycling bins like these around Great Parks.

Additional recycling bins were recently placed next to most of our existing trash cans to increase accessibility. Our “Think Outside the Trash” program has included bins at 10 Great Parks where guests can recycle their old cellphones (and similar electronic devices). Glenwood Gardens has collected more than 126 phones and 14 electronic devices alone since the program started in July! Great Parks staff is conscious about purchasing recycled products and equipment that runs on rechargeable batteries (instead of regular batteries or gasoline).

And with the winter holidays coming up, we can’t forget about our popular Holiday Lights Recycling program where guests can drop off broken or unwanted lights at select Great Parks visitor centers and locations between December 1, 2022–February 1, 2023.

There are many more things we are doing as an agency to list here, and there are many things we can continue to do at home and in our community to make recycling more common, accepted and accessible. Who wouldn’t want to make a better future for our environment and the generations to come? Let’s make every day National Recycling Day!

Doug Stevenson
Highfield Discovery Garden Manager