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From learning how to recycle your items properly to finding a new lease of life for preloved items, here's everything you need to know about recycling in Singapore

Earth Day is coming up on April 22 and it is expected to be a big event in Singapore this year. In fact, over 740 locations around Singapore have pledged to turn off their lights for an hour on the day as a commitment to preserve our planet. 

However, Earth Day is more than just a single day. It is a pledge made by individuals worldwide to do their very best to reduce their carbon footprint, recycle, save electricity and reduce their reliance on single-use disposable plastics. 

One of the best things you can do for the planet is to recycle. Recycling is fantastic because it gives your products a new lease of life and allows for less waste. That said, many people do not actually know how to recycle, what can be recycled and what to do with items that are not traditionally tossed in a recycling bin but that can be reused. 

If you would like to start recycling but don't know how to start, here are some tips that will turn you into a recycling pro for sure.

(Related: How to be More Eco-Friendly in Singapore? Swap Everyday Items With Sustainable Options)

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Know what you can and cannot recycle

One of the biggest problems Singapore faces in its drive to get more people to recycle is that many simply don't know what they can or cannot recycle. As a result, our recycling bins are often filled with things that cannot be recycled or that are dirty which can hinder the recycling process. 

Before you toss anything into a recycling bin, check the bin label to see if your item can be recycled. You can typically recycle glass, paper, plastic and metal. 

Disposable containers and cups cannot be recycled though, as they often still have food waste in them. 

While food waste and e-waste can be recycled or donated, they cannot be placed in a typical recycling bin. 

Also, ensure that you separate reusable items such as clothes or toys from your recyclables. They can be donated but are not recyclable. 

(Related: Turning the Tide on Single-Use Plastic Waste: What Can We Do About it?)

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Ensure that you clean the items you plan to recycle

Did you know that items need to be cleaned before they are recycled? That means that you should wash your soap bottles, bottled drinks, jars and containers before putting them into the recycling bin. Even a simple rinse is really all that is required.

This is so that it will not contaminate other things in the recycling bin and turn it into a trash bin.

(Related: Meet Kevin Germanier, The Swiss Designer Turning Trash And Recycled Materials Into Couture-Worthy Garments)

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Reuse or return your used product containers

As the world becomes more eco-conscious, more brands are offering customers the chance to return their empty product bottles in exchange for points, free products, discounts and more. 

Usually, returned product containers will be repurposed and recycled to form more containers.

While requirements differ depending on the brand, you will typically need to wash out your containers before you return them to the store. Some brands also require that you collect a number of empty product jars before you are eligible for the recycling programmes. 

Currently, you can find these recycling programmes by various beauty brands such as The Body Shop, Innisfree, Kiehl's, L'Occitane, Mac Cosmetics, Decorte and more. Be sure to find out more on their respective websites.

(Related: Earth Day 2021: 7 Eco-Friendly Chairs Made With Upcycled Plastic)

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Join a freecycling group

Freecycling is a fairly new movement in Singapore but it functions easily: you put items that you no longer need online and give them away for free to someone who might have use for them.

Freecycling groups focusing on different items have popped up all over social media in recent years and they are a great way to give your product a new lease of life rather than to just toss it in the trash. 

You can donate items such as art supplies, baby items, plants and more via these public online groups.

(Related: Earth Day 2021: 6 Easy Ways to Be a Greener Traveller Today)