DIY Garden Ideas

Summer is in full swing and we’re all busy enjoying sunny days, cool breezy nights and fresh produce. You might be thinking you’d love to grow your own produce, but don’t have a yard to have a garden. Let’s talk about the different options you have, even if you’re city living.

An easy thing to do would be to start a container garden. These mini gardens can get utilized on decks, rooftops, patios or even the space just beyond your window. If you’re renting your living space, these little containers are also easy to move from place to place. You can get creative and repurpose old material, such as a broken wheelbarrow or bucket to house your plants. If your containers are mostly shaded, grow shade loving plants, or move them to catch some mid-day rays.

If you live in the city, check out if there are any community gardens in your area. Many cities now have arrangements for publicly owned land that you can plant your own fruits and veggies on. It’s a great opportunity to promote community involvement and build relationships with those who live around you.

Last, but not least, you can grow a windowsill herb garden. You may not know this, but a lot of herbs will grow indoors, especially if you have a sunny window that faces east, south or west. If your space is too shaded another option would be to install an energy efficient light to promote growth.

These are just a couple DIY options you have when it comes to growing fruits, veggies and herbs when space is limited. If you try it out drop us a line and let us know what tricks work for you and your small space. Happy planting!

DIY Tire Swing

We’ve been focusing on tires in the last few blog posts. To end our section on tire recycling, let’s talk about a DIY project you can do to repurpose an old tire.

Some of the items we use regularly can be reused into something completely different. Tires are one of these items that can be repurposed. We learned a little bit about that in our last blog post, but here is another way to repurpose them. Tires come in multiple sizes, but all can be reused into a staple at your local park or even in your backyard. Creating a tire swing out of an old tire is a great way to reuse it and will also give the kids hours of fun in your very own backyard.

What does it take to make one of these? It’s pretty simple actually. All you’ll need is a tire, eye-bolts, S-hook, 3 shorter chains and 1 long chain, clip hook, connector links, and a swivel piece. Now, if you’re not a handyman this may sound intimidating, but check out this website with step-by-step directions and you’ll soon realize that any man or woman is capable of making a do-it-yourself tire swing.

After you create your very own personal tire swing you can feel proud of not only the work you have done, but also that you did a little part in helping the environment.

Although Metro Recycling does not accept tires we do accept a variety of other materials that you can’t necessarily fit inside your blue recycling bin. Check out our list of acceptable materials here.

Repurposing Used Tires

We’ve been talking a lot about tire recycling in the past few weeks. Facts about tires, why they’re bad for landfills and now we’re going to discuss what tires can be re-purposed into.

There are actually quite a few different options when it comes to re-purposing tires. Here is a basic list of the uses for tires.

  • Soil additives
  • Synthetic turf
  • Playground cover
  • Floor mats for gyms
  • Stall mats for horses
  • Running tracks
  • Ballistic backdrops for shooting ranges

When used for playground cover or stall mats in a stable the tires are made into rubber mulch. There are many benefits to using rubber mulch as opposed to wood mulch.

  1. Less tires in landfills. Old tires are given new life instead of taking up valuable space.
  2. Does not blow or float away. Since rubber mulch is much heavier than wood, it is less likely to blow or float away in severe weather.
  3. Lasts longer than wood mulch. Because it does not break down or fade, rubber mulch has a much longer lifespan than wood mulch. Rubber mulch won’t decompose like wood mulch and should hold its color for more than ten years.
  4. Similar in cost to wood mulch. While the upfront cost of rubber mulch is higher than wood mulch, its considerably longer lifespan makes it a cost effective option.
  5. Makes playgrounds safer. Rubber mulch has twice the fall height rating of wood mulch and will not compact over time. So when a child falls on the playground, the landing will be much softer.
  6. Easy on horses’ knees. When we use rubber mulch as stall and arena flooring, the softness of rubber mulch help to reduce wear and tear on horses bodies.

So as you can see, there are many different ways we can utilize old tires. Finding ways to re-purpose material instead of just throwing it away is great for our environment, saves landfill space, and helps create more efficient uses for materials.

Tires in Landfills

As we talked about a few weeks ago, recycling tires can be challenging. With over 290 million tires discarded every year we have a lot of tires with limited places for them to go.

Why isn’t the landfill a viable option? Let’s look at some of the facts.

The first issue is that tires break down very slowly. It takes approximately 50-80 years (or longer) for a tire to completely decompose in a landfill. So with 290 million being discarded every year, the landfill would quickly become overrun with old, unusable tires.

Another issue is space. Tires aren’t small and whole tires take up a lot of space in landfills. This landfill space if very valuable, especially when you consider that 75% of their space is void.

A big issue is soil and water contamination. Tires have the capability to damage landfill liners. Holes or damage in the liners can cause fluids and other harmful chemicals to escape into the soil and contaminate the water and soil surrounding the landfill.

Last, but certainly not least, when tires in landfills do damage the landfill liners they then tend to float to the surface. This then causes them to attract rodents. Making contamination more of a possibility.

So if we can’t discard tires in landfills then what can we do with them? Next time we’ll talk about different uses for tires and what we can do with them when we no longer have use for them.

The Life of a Recycled Tire

Let’s talk about tires. This is one material that is hard to get rid of. Many recycling centers won’t accept tires and many landfills won’t take them either. Let’s start with discussing some facts about tires before we get into the nitty gritty.

Tires are an essential part of our world. Tires get things and people from place to place. Without tires, the world would be a pretty stationary place. Here are a few interesting tire facts to get your mind going.

  • Each year, approximately 1 billion tires are produced throughout the world in over 450 factories. In the next few years that number is expected to reach 1.7 billion.
  • Around 200 different raw materials are used to make a new tire.
  • The 100 tire companies in the U.S. make around $15 billion a year
  • The four largest tire companies make more than 75% of the revenue
  • Passenger car tires generally need to be replaced every 50,000 miles. With the average American driving around 12,000 miles a year, a lot of old tires are produced.

Each year over 290 million tires are discarded in the U.S alone and disposing of old tires can be a challenge for a lot of reasons. We’ll talk more about the challenges in our next blog! Stay tuned!

Aluminum Can Recycling Facts

We talk a lot about recycling. The benefits to the environment, items you can recycle, items you can reuse and much more. Although this is important conversation, it’s shocking to hear the how long it takes these items to decompose when you don’t recycle.

It’s shocking when you hear how long aluminum can will sit in a landfill. It’s shocking to hear how much goes into landfills each year in the United States. There are items thrown into landfills every single day that could be recycled. Often times all it takes is for people to start thinking outside the blue box.

For the next few posts we’re going to discuss common recyclable items and how long it takes for them to break down when we decide to ditch the blue bin. We’ll start with a well-known item that most probably thinks of first when they hear the word recycle. The Aluminum can.

You may already know that if recycled, aluminum cans will be back on the shelf within 60 days. You may not know that if not recycled, aluminum cans will sit in a landfill for 500 years before it oxidizes. Imagine if that can had been recycled how many times it could have been used and the amount of virgin resources that could’ve been saved.

Fast Facts on Aluminum:

It is infinitely recyclable.

It can be back on the shelf within 60 days

Making new aluminum cans from used cans takes 95 percent less energy than using virgin materials

Twenty recycled cans can be made with the energy needed to produce one can using virgin ore

Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to keep a 100-watt bulb burning for almost four hours or run your television for three hours.

So next time you consider tossing that aluminum can into the trash, consider these facts and think of how much needed landfill space, energy and materials you’ll be saving by taking a few extra steps to recycle.

Metro Recycling is dedicated to providing quality service while helping maintain a sustainable environment. For more information on our locations, hours and other acceptable recyclables visit our website,

Paper Towel Recycling

1,000,000,000. That’s a big number. What if I told you that’s how many pounds of paper towels are used in the U.S. every year. Would you believe me? No? Good, because the actual number is 13,000,000,000. 13 billion pounds of paper towels—every year! That, my friends, is a lot of trees.

So, why do we use so much? Well, there is an answer as to why. Paper towels don’t contain significant amounts of fiber for recycling when they’re dirty or wet. What happens is they degrade even further and in turn become completely non-recyclable.

You may be asking yourself what you can do to change that number. First off would be to cut down on the amount of paper towels you use per day. If all Americans used one less paper towel a day, 571,230,000 pounds of paper would be spared over the course of the year. Joe Smith, former District Attorney for Oregon’s Umatilla County and former chair of the Oregon Democratic Party believes there is a way to use only one paper towel at a given time.

His solution? Wash your hands, Shake excess water off your hands at least 12 times and fold the single sheet of paper towel in half. The one towel soaks up whatever leftover water hasn’t been shaken off and folding it in half makes it more absorbent.

Next time you need to use paper towels, remember the impact that using one less sheet of paper towel can do for the environment. Take the first step and others will follow your example.

Recycling your old mattress

It’s a new year which means out with the old, in with the new. I’ve at a few avid recyclers ask me what they should do when they trade in their old mattress for a new one. Are they recyclable and if so where can you recycle them? This is a great question. Since Metro is primarily a recycler of metals, we do not accept mattresses for recycling, but there has to be an organization or business that does right? With a little research we have some answers for you!
There are two options when it comes to your mattress. Reuse or recycle. Let’s discuss the reuse option first.
If your mattress is in good condition, it may be easy to find a new owner for you mattress. Start by asking friends and family members if they’re in need of a new mattress or know of anyone looking for one. Another option would be to check with local churches, homeless shelters and community centers within your neighborhood.
If you’re having trouble with those options, you may be able to give your mattress away on sites such asCraigslist or eBay. Check with the Salvation Army as well and they might even pick up the mattress to save you a trip.
 If your mattress isn’t in the best shape it’s probably best to opt for the recycling option. The wood, foam, cotton and metal springs that make up most mattresses are all recyclable. The challenging part is finding a place to recycle it.


When you purchase a new mattress, check to see if the store provides recycling. The manufacturer of your old mattress may offer a take-back recycling program. A quick call or web search should be able to provide you with that information. If you have no luck there check out Earth 911’s recycling directory to find out which recycling centers near you offer mattress recycling programs.
It’s a new year, lets start off on the right foot by reducing the materials we use, reusing as much as we can and of course, recycling materials that can be recycled.

Recycling Gift Cards

‘Tis the season to receive gift cards a plenty! I’m sure many of us during the holiday season give and receive gift cards to their favorite restaurants, stores, gas stations or Movie Theater. What happens when the money on those cards run out? Are they recyclable?
You may not know that gift cards are actually made out of PVC plastic. You also may be saying “It’s not like one little gift card will make a huge difference.” That’s where you’re wrong. More than 75 million pounds of PVC material from plastic cards enters the waste stream each year.
One of the neat things about PVC is that it is infinitely recyclable. In reality there are very few curbside programs that will accept this form of plastic. While you can’t put old PVC gift cards in your blue bin, you can check for recycling companies that will accept gift cards as recyclable material. Check out Earth911’srecycling directory to see if there is a drop off point in your neighborhood.
If you can’t find a recycling center near you, Earthworks System accepts all forms of plastic cards through a mail-back recycling program.


Although Metro Recycling does not accept gift cards for recycling, we do accept PVC tubing, piping and fencing. As stated earlier, PVC is infinitely recyclable. Therefore, it’s incredibly important to recycle your old PVC tubes, pipes and fences. To find out more about Metro Recycling’s acceptable materials, visit Metro’s website

Think Outside the Blue Box

See that blue box sitting outside? Yeah, the one with the recycling symbol on it. Did you know that there are many additional items to be recycled that aren’t necessarily allowed inside that box. That’s right. That bike rusting in the garage, recyclable. Those copper wires pulled out of your 20 year old air conditioner, recyclable. The recycling possibilities are infinite when you simply think outside the blue box.
Many people narrow their recycling focus to what the garbage man will take from that blue box plopped on the curb every Thursday. Yes, setting that box at the end of your driveway each week is a start, but it’s only a small start to a big movement. Recycling is taking the world by storm. Everyone wants to convert their minds to ‘think green.’
Recycling is a way to become green and begin to do your part to help the environment. Implementing an at home recycling program is one way to encourage your family to think before they throw something away. A great way to start is by getting children involved. Educate them on where to throw their aluminum cans as opposed to their banana peel. Show them that throwing away the old aluminum siding from the shed isn’t the way to go.
Once you’ve accumulated enough material, take your children to the recycling yard and show them where their collected items go. It’s important to teach them the entire recycling process as well as the importance behind the process. Once inside the yard it is clear to see there is so much more to recycling than many people think. Piles of aluminum, rusty old vehicles and broken refrigerators are just a few items that dot the yard. All of these have the potential to be created into something new all while maintaining a healthy environment.
Taking small steps at home will eventually lead to big steps. Even the small steps can change the environment. Realizing that so much can be recycled is an important small step in the big picture. So next time you go to throw that aluminum siding away because it won’t fit inside the blue box, remember there are alternatives that are better for the environment and profitable for you.
*If you are interested in continuing your recycling education with a recycling yard tour contact us at or visit our website,