Reduce, Reuse, then Recycle!

Recycling alone is not the answer to responsible waste management. According to the EPA, Americans generate on average, 4.9 pounds of trash each day! The most environmentally friendly way to manage waste is to create less to begin with. Although recycling is a more sustainable alternative to landfilling, recycling still has environmental impacts; in fact, recycling should be considered the last step in waste reduction. Here are some ways you can prevent and reduce waste:

  • Use a reusable water bottle
  • Pack a Waste-Free-Lunch
  • Donate clothes and toys you’ve outgrown
  • Reuse paper
  • Compost your food waste
  • Upcycle your trash with recycling crafts
  • Educate others; tell your friends and family about reducing waste and recycling
  • Most importantly, keep learning about ways YOU can help protect our planet!

Why Recycle?

Small changes can have a big impact on our planet! When you recycle, you help improve the quality of our environment today and for future generations. One person does make a difference – by choosing to recycle you are affecting positive change right here in your local community! Here are some specific ways recycling is beneficial:

Recycling conserves natural resources by reducing the need to extract materials to create new products.

Recycling and composting of municipal solid waste (trash) reduces greenhouse gas emissions; 193 metric tons of carbon dioxide was saved in 2018 according to the EPA.

Did you know, recycling 10 aluminum cans saves enough energy to power a laptop computer for nearly 52 hours; 10 plastic bottles save enough energy to power a 60W CFL lightbulb for 97.8 hours!

By diverting waste from landfills and incinerators, recycling preserves land and reduces pollution.

The recycling industry benefits the economy by creating jobs and generating revenue; as a matter of fact, the Recycling Economic Information Study conducted in 2020 found that 1.17 jobs and $65.23 in wages were generated by every 1,000 tons of recycled material.

Check out the links below for some recycling and waste reduction information and activities:

Video - Tour the Material Recovery Facility (MRF) in Elkridge (this is where recyclables collected in Carroll County are processed)

Waste-Free-Lunch Pledge

Recycle City – Games and Activities

Become a Planet Protector

16 Fun Recycling Facts for Kids

Recycling Hero Coloring Page

At-Home Upcycle Projects


Resources For Educators

The Office of Recycling is comprised of 1 staff member; as such availability to provide on-site services may be limited. Please contact Ashlee Treece at or call 410-386-2510 to inquire about availability. Below are links to online recycling and waste reduction lessons and activities. 

EPA’s Environmental Education Resources for Educators

LAUNCH – Waste Audit Toolkit (6th-12th)

Maryland Public Schools – Recycling Drive Service Learning

Food Waste Minimization Activities – Toolkit for Maryland Schools

EPA’s Educator Resources

Waste Management – Resources for Educators

Recycling Matters, K-3 Activity from The Recycling Partnership

Recycling Matters, 4-5 Activity from the Recycling Partnership

Video - Tour the Material Recovery Facility (MRF) in Elkridge (this is where recyclables collected in Carroll County are processed)

Cornell University School Composting Guide

Carroll County does not endorse products, services, or vendors; links are included for informational purposes only.