Recycling-Bin

Recycling 101: Are You Doing it Right?

Does your local area offer a recycling program? If so, you may be lucky enough that all you have to do is throw your recyclables in the recycling bin, then tote them to the curb on pick up day. However, did you know that in order for your recyclables to actually get recycled you need to follow a few simple tips? It’s true – first things first, you want to find out what items your local public works or recycling center can recycle, then follow these simple steps. 

1. Cleanliness Is Important
Cans, containers, bottles, and packaging caked in food and liquid aren’t going to make the cut. It makes it difficult to recycle if the bottles aren’t rinsed out. Also, please don’t tote your paper recyclables out to the curb while it is raining – wet paper and cardboard aren’t going to make the cut either.

2. Use The Right Bin
Depending on where you live and what type of recycling services are offered, you may or may not have several different colored bins for your recyclables. If you do have separate bins, please pay close attention to which recyclables go into which bin. Many bins will list on the side what items can be recycled in that particular bin. If not, please contact your recycling center and ask them which items you should be placing in each bin and stick to it!

3. Know What Is Recyclable? 
Just because your local recycling center recycles plastic – it doesn’t necessarily mean that they recycle all types of plastic. Check with your recycling center to find out which ones are suitable for recycling and then check the bottom of the item to find it’s recycling number. For example; our local Public Works Department does not recycle plastic milk and juice bottle caps. And many recycling centers do not recycle Styrofoam – it’s a good idea to find out what items your recycling center doesn’t recycle and then steer clear of those packaging options when doing your shopping.

4. Will They Pick Up Electronics, Household Items And Garden Debris? 
Not usually – again you will want to check with your local recycling center to find out what items they are able to recycle. A great resource for finding recycling centers for almost everything is Earth911.org – you can search by item and find a location in your area that can recycle it. However, if the item is in good working condition, please consider donating it – someone else most likely would love to have it! If you have a composter or your local community garden does – consider taking your garden debris there.

5. What About Hazardous Materials? 
These items usually need to be disposed of separately – again check with Earth911.org for local recycling centers. Hazardous materials include; batteries, motor oil, car batteries, pesticides, chemicals, paints etc; Also, many local grocery stores such as Whole Foods has recycling bins for batteries, plastic bags, and more.

Are you recycling properly? Or, are you guilty of throwing the milk jug and cap in the recycling bin?

photo via epSos.de

3 Responses to Recycling 101: Are You Doing it Right?

  1. AngelaLilly January 19, 2013 at 1:19 am #

    Well I do throw in the cap with the jug, but our city told us to do this! LOL They recycle all caps with all pop/milk jugs, so I am safe there! LOL Good tips here!

  2. Sweet Greens January 27, 2013 at 7:46 pm #

    Hi Angie

    That is great! I wish ours did!

  3. AngelaLilly January 29, 2013 at 5:13 pm #

    should be the law that they do…just saying…LOL

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