Posted on Wednesday, July 13th, 2016 at 7:00 am
We have been taught that recycling is good for the planet. When everything works like it should, recyclables get sorted correctly and prepared for reuse. Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to recycle correctly. You might be recycling wrong.
Not Everything Can Be Recycled
Most people understand that plastic bottles can be recycled. This doesn’t mean that all things made of plastic can go in the recycling bin. Some recycling facilities only take certain kinds of plastic. Take the time to learn what kinds of plastic can be accepted by your local recycling facility (or the recycling truck that comes to pick it up.) It matters!
Do not assume that because some types of plastic bottles can be recycled that it means that all items made of all types of plastics are recyclable. Things like plastic shower curtains, plastic toys, plastic plants, and plastic shopping bags are not recyclable. Don’t put them into the recycling bin.
Plastic bags can be recycled at your local grocery store. There is usually a designated plastic bag recycling container near the door of the store. It might be a repurposed trash can that has a sign on it letting people know that it is for plastic bags only.
Trash Cannot be Recycled
Many people put their soda cans into a plastic bag before recycling them. That’s fine if you are going to a sorting facility and intend to take all those cans out of the bag before turning them in. Don’t toss a plastic bag full of cans into the recycling bin. Your recycling facility might not be able to process the bag. The result could be that your bag of otherwise perfectly good recyclable cans will wind up in a landfill.
Do you live in a place that asks residents to put all types of recyclables: cans, plastic bottles, and paper, into one recycling container? That system can work well if everyone follows the rules. Sadly, all it takes is for one person to throw garbage into that recycling container to spoil things. Those recyclables are now contaminated and cannot be processed by a recycling facility.
Be Careful with Shredded Paper
Those that care deeply about the planet will make the effort to put even the smallest scraps of paper into the proper recycling bin. Unfortunately, doing so makes it harder for facilities to recycle that paper. The best way to recycle shredded or small bits of paper is to put it inside a paper bag, seal the bag shut, and write “shredded paper” on the front of the bag. Workers can easily grab the bag and sort it correctly.