Busting a few myths about recycling household items…
Why is this important?
Because you’re likely buying things thinking they are recyclable when they’re not. After learning what’s actually recyclable and what isn’t, you can be smarter about the products you choose.
It’s also important to know how to recycle certain items, because while many items are recyclable, they can’t all go in the municipal recycling bin.
Things you can recycle:
- magazines – glossy paper actually can be recycled and is accepted by most curbside services.
- ink cartridges – but you’ll need to find a business that accepts them.
- household batteries – you can usually turn them in at libraries, post offices, or some business supply stores.
- computer components and power cords – but they need to be taken to a specific e-waste receptacle.
Things you can’t recycle:
- coffee cups – any cups that have a lining to make them liquid proof are extremely difficult to recycle
- pizza boxes – the cardboard is recyclable, but the grease from the pizza makes it unrecyclable. You can recycle the parts that are not covered in grease.
- shredded paper – small pieces of paper have short fibers which makes it difficult to recycle.
- milk and juice cartons – the wax coating on these makes them difficult to recycle.
- aerosol cans – although they are made of metal, they are pressurized with chemicals that actually render classified as hazardous materials.
- plastic bags – most curbside recycling services do not accept plastic bags. Unless you’re one of the lucky few, you’ll have to take them elsewhere. This recycling locator can help you find a center near you that accepts plastic bags.
- napkins, tissue paper, paper towels – these items are usually wet or “contaminated” with bodily fluids, foods, and what not which makes it much harder to recycle.
- food packaging / wrappers – candy wrappers, chip bags, and other common food wrappers are generally not recyclable.
Your Action Item
Know which everyday items you can and can’t recycle. Stay away from items you can’t recycle and properly recycle the ones you can.
Keep doin’ it right:
This tool from Earth911 will help you find out what you can recycle and where you can recycle it near you. If you have an item in question, this is a great place to start.
This piece will give you a little more insight into why coffee cups aren’t recyclable and why it’s such a big problem.
Here is an expanded list of what I’ve provided above, along with an explanation.
Learn more about E-Waste, including how and where to recycle it.