The 43rd annual celebration of Earth Day is Monday, April 22.
Things have changed since 1970, when we recycled only 5 percent of our waste; today the number has risen to 33 percent.
One of the easiest ways to help Mother Earth is to recycle at home and work. Over the past three years, state-mandated recycling in Delaware has opened the door to single-stream recycling at curbside. And Delaware does recycle.
It's now possible to recycle most of the items we use in our homes and workplaces. Starting in 2014, businesses will become part of the state's mandated universal recycling program along with single households and multifamily housing complexes.
All waste haulers are required by law to offer curbside recycling service, and Delaware Solid Waste Authority maintains more than 10 recycling centers in the Cape Region. All accept single-stream materials, and some accept materials such as used motor oil and household batteries.
DSWA RECYCLING CENTERS
Route 5 transfer station: Corrugated cardboard, batteries, motor oil and filters, textiles and single-stream.
Indian River Inlet, Route 1 and Inlet Road: Corrugated cardboard, batteries, motor oil and filters, textiles and single-stream.
In Lewes, 1 American Legion Road: Corrugated cardboard, batteries, textiles and single-stream; Cape Henlopen State Park: Corrugated cardboard, batteries, motor oil and filters, textiles and single-stream.
In Milton, Milton Elementary School, 512 Federal St.: Corrugated cardboard and single-stream; Ace Hardware, 610 Mulberry St.: Corrugated cardboard, batteries, motor oil and filters, textiles and single-stream; Coastal Wine & Spirits, 12141 Coastal Highway: Corrugated cardboard, batteries and single-stream.
In Rehoboth Beach, Rehoboth Beach City Hall, 229 Rehoboth Ave.: Corrugated cardboard, batteries, textiles and single-stream; Walmart rear parking lot, off Route 24: Corrugated cardboard, batteries and single-stream.
In Dewey Beach, Towers Road and Route 1 South: Corrugated cardboard, batteries and single-stream.
In Ellendale, 13870 South Old State Road: Corrugated cardboard, batteries, electronics, motor oil and filters and single-stream.
WHAT CAN BE RECYCLED
Paper: Newspapers, colored and white office paper, junk mail, envelopes, cereal boxes, corrugated cardboard, telephone books, paperbacks, pizza boxes, clean paper bags.
Plastics: Bags, rigid plastic, bottles and jugs, yogurt and butter containers.
Glass: Colored and clear bottles and jars.
Cans: Aluminum, steel, tin.
Reusing items – such as boxes and bags – and donating items to charities and thrift shops is also a way to recycle.
WHAT IS NOT ACCEPTED
Styrofoam, lightbulbs, yard waste, electronics, motor oil containers, chemical containers, window glass, mirrors, ceramics and dishes.
The good news is that even items not accepted by DSWA at recycling centers can still be recycled. In the Cape Region, several commercial companies accept yard waste as does the Route 5 transfer station. Household waste, trash, metal items and white goods – refrigerators, stoves, etc. – are also accepted at the transfer station.
DSWA charges a $7.50 fee for less than 180 pounds and then $84 a ton for materials above 180 pounds. The transfer station is open 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
To recycle electronics, go to the trailers at the Route 5 transfer station or in Ellendale. Mirrors, ceramics and dishes can be donated to thrift shops, and motor oil containers and chemical containers are accepted during household hazardous waste collection days in Sussex County.
The next collection days are from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 4, at Jones Crossroads landfill on Route 20 and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 18, at Rehoboth Beach Convention Center.
CFB DROP-OFF POINT
Unbroken compact fluorescent bulbs packed in sandwich bags can be recycled Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Lewes Board of Public Works, 114 Third St., Lewes.
Delaware Solid Waste Authority: dswa.com.
Environmental Protection Agency: epa.gov.
Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control: dnrec.gov.
Natural Resources Defense Council: nrdc.org.