Recycling Tips That Everyone Should Know

Statistics show estimates that nearly 100,000 pounds of waste will be created from your very being over your lifetime, creating a substantial impact on environmental issues such as landfills, energy conservation, contamination and the diminishing of resources. Recycling is a practice that can be implemented in your day-to-day life that can help you maintain a green home and reduce your negative effect on the earth. Here are 5 recycling tips to help you become a more informed recycler.  

 

I recently wrote a blog about the problem with recyclingand it got me thinking about my own recycling habits — more specifically, how little I know about recycling. Do I separate bottle caps or lids? How clean do materials have to be? What about all those numbers on plastics?

 

Recycling is a regional enterprise, and each city has different rules, which complicates things for residents who just want to know how to recycle correctly. The truth is that recycling is confusing. There is no universal recycling program, and there is no easy solution. But even as we increase our reducing and reusing habits, we can’t avoid recycling, so we should try to do it right.

 

1. Stop Recycling Plastic Bags

infographic of bag

Grocery bags dissolve into harmful microplastics, in the case of ingestion or entanglement, hurt and kill animals. Plastic bags are the number-one contaminant in recycling loads. Plastic bags act as “tanglers,” getting caught in machinery and shutting down the equipment.

Even though these bags are technically recyclable, you must go to a drop-off area to do that, not your curbside bin. This means you should refrain from putting your recyclables into plastic bags as well, just dump them loosely into the correct bins. 

2. Small Items Cant Be Recycled 

Items that are smaller than a credit card cannot be recycled. This includes everyday items such as straws, plastic cutlery, bottle caps and coffee pods. When objects are too small they can't be sorted correctly and jam up the recycling equipment. 

3. Don't Recycle Dirty Materials

Food waste contaminates 25 percent of our recycling every year. When contaminants like food are recycled, it renders entire loads of recycling useless and unable to be processed. The key to remember is that recycling materials should be clean enough to reuse again. Always clean, empty and dry recyclables before placing them into bins. 

You can also recycle pizza boxes… if they’re not covered in cheese and grease. If they are, you can always tear off the clean part and recycle that.

4. Combined Materials are Trash 

Unfortunately, materials like plastic-coated coffee cups, laminated paper and paper-bubble wrap envelopes from the mail can’t ever be separated, which means they’re trash.

5. Stop Wishcycling 

When it comes to recycling, one of the worst things you can do is wishcycle. That’s when we optimistically put nonrecyclable objects in recycling bins. When we do this, we contaminate whole loads of otherwise recyclable materials.

 

 

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