Reusing materials reduces the need to recycle

Recycling volumes have been growing courtesy the Ottawa Sandusky Seneca Solid Waste District’s Aim to be Green recycling drop-off program.

In its first year of operation, the program collected 5 million pounds of recyclables at drop-off sites in the waste district. The first two months into the second year that began last fall indicate the total could grow by 20 percent or more.

Plus, area retail stores offer ways to recycle plastic shopping bags, printer cartridges, rechargeable batteries, cell phones and compact fluorescent light bulbs.

Even better, though, some companies are finding new uses for used materials or byproducts of manufacturing processes. An example is POET Biorefining in?Fostoria, which markets a high-protein animal feed and a high-quality corn oil that are co-products of its bio-fuel production.

In fact, in January, the Ohio secretary of state is highlighting such efforts in the monthly Ohio Business Profile. In the spotlight:

Olde Wood Ltd. in Stark County sells plank flooring reclaimed from barns and other structures.

Similarly, ReTread, Akron Ltd. in Summit County finds ways to salvage and reuse items from old houses, schools and factories that are being razed.

Rustic Refinery in Hamilton County sells furnishings made from old wood and industrial metal.

The nonprofit Stock Pile Reuse Store in Stark County warehouses used and overstock building materials donated by local businesses, contractors and individuals, offering affordable used materials and home improvement supplies to low-income people.

Of course, the best way to help our environment is to reduce the use of materials, especially those made from non-renewable resources. But if you can’t reduce, reuse; and if you can’t reuse, recycle. It’s something we can do at home, at work and at the market.