The new year is quickly approaching, which means many people are setting goals to go to the gym more, eat healthier or learn a new skill. One resolution our team at the Kent County Department of Public Works hopes you’ll consider in 2019 is to recycle more and reduce trash heading for the landfill.

It’s never too late to take steps to reduce your environmental footprint. Whether you’re looking to increase recycling in your home or trying to make your business more environmentally friendly, here are some recycling tips to start 2019 off right

Knowledge is Power: Know the rules of recycling. 
A lot has probably changed since you last looked at a list of what can and cannot go into your recycling bin. Recycling friendly items include paper, plastics, cardboard, metal cans and cartons (new in 2018). For a full list of accepted items, check out our recycling guidelines. Items that cannot go into recycling bins include live ammunition, propane tanks, fireworks, Styrofoam, wrapping paper, Christmas lights and more. To learn how to properly dispose of these materials, visit our handy recycle & disposal guide.

Make recycling a habit.
Experts say it takes 21 days to make a habit stick. Just as you are in the habit of making your bed or brushing your teeth, commit to making recycling a daily habit. Consider making a dedicated recycling station at a convenient location in your home or business that will remind you to recycle daily. You could also try to focus on recycling an item that you typically throw away. For example, if you’ve been tossing out cans, try rinsing them out and putting them in your recycling bin.

Bring your own container (BYOC).
From lunches to water bottles, another way you can reduce waste is by using reusable containers. If you’re someone who buys a lunch every day, consider packing your own lunch and use reusable containers. If you do grab lunch on the go, be aware of unnecessary packaging that may be difficult to recycle. For coffee or tea drinkers, commit to investing in a reusable thermos or bring a coffee cup to work instead of using disposable cups.

Reduce your waste in the first place.
An overlooked recycling tip is to reduce your waste altogether. Simple ideas for reducing your waste could include using reusable shopping bags, storing food in reusable containers, repairing household items, cancelling junk mail, not using disposable plates and cutlery and not buying plastic water bottles. Incorporating just a few of these habits will help you reduce the amount of waste going into your trash and recycling bins.

Declutter and donate to give materials a second life.
The beginning of the year is a good time to declutter closets and cabinets as old items are replaced with the new. As you sort through old clothing, toys, electronics and appliances, remember to donate them first before putting them in your trash bin. If you’re unsure whether you can donate or recycle an item, visit our recycling guide.

These are just a few ideas that we hope will inspire you to recycle more and reduce your waste in the new year. Even if you begin using just one or two of these tips, you will be able to make a significant positive impact on the environment in 2019 and reduce waste that ends up in the landfill.