Sure, we all know that separating our papers from plastics and cardboard from food waste can help save the planet. But recycling is more than just putting newspapers out on the curb, and it can actually contribute to real, long-term savings -- and, in some cases, a quick turnaround of cash in your pocket.
Recyclebank.com is an online program that allows you to earn points for green activities. Recycling cereal boxes, pledging to avoid buying bottled water and increasing curbside recycling are just a few ways to earn points, which you can then use to "buy" online coupons or offers that can save you money on anything from Ziplock bags and McDonalds to a Rolling Stone magazine subscription or a Gap gift certificate.
Beyond online programs, recycling can be as easy as a few simple substitutions. Pack children's lunches with sustainability in mind. Instead of including prepackaged juices, consider reuseable water bottles. Put sandwiches and carrots in food storage containers, instead of individual plastic baggies.
We're not quite done with recycling yet. In the next section, we'll explore how we can "recycle" energy by investing in appliances and products that restrict or recharge energy use.