As a company we are constantly finding ways to reduce our negative environmental impact. We believe it’s also important to consider what we can do as individuals. Recycling at home is something everyone can (and should) be doing, but we were recently surprised to learn that a lot of us are doing it wrong…
Some of us thought we were being helpful by recycling everything. This is called “wish-cycling”, and it does more harm than good. What the recycling program in your community accepts can vary, but there are some common rules of thumb. Keeping them in mind will help ensure that what you’re putting in your recycling bin is actually getting, you know, recycled.
The most common items accepted in recycling programs across the United States are aluminum, rigid plastic #1, rigid plastic #2, paper, and cardboard. Just note every plastic product has a triangle with a number from 1 to 7 inside. This Plastic Identification Code is usually found on the bottom. Plastics with codes 1 or 2 are the most universally accepted. Typically, these are beverage bottles and containers used for milk, juice, and body-care products.
If you are trying to recycle anything other than the items noted above (say, a glass bottle), double check to confirm it’s accepted by your communities recycling program. Generally, plastic bags and wraps, sewing needles, electronics, and textiles cannot go in your recycling bin. And here’s where it gets tricky, if your cardboard cereal box is recyclable – you need to keep in mind that the plastic bag inside is not. So, if you want to put the cardboard in your recycling bin, you need to separate them.
When in doubt, throw it out. That may seem counterintuitive but if you just aren’t sure, don’t recycle it. If it isn’t recyclable, it may cause contamination to the rest of your bin and result in all your recyclable items being thrown out…
Your recycling needs to be clean and dry. We’ll say it again for the people in the back, your recycling needs to be clean and dry. Empty and rinse all your cans and containers. Unfortunately, you can’t recycle paper or cardboard products that are covered in food waste because it may contaminate your other recyclable materials. Translation: one greasy pizza box can ruin your whole recycling bin. Oh, and never put your recycling in a plastic bag. Loose in the bin is perfectly fine.
And while recycling is a great way to lower your carbon footprint and reduce your household waste, it’s not the only method. Another easy way to curb waste is to avoid using or purchasing single-use items such as plastic bottles or grocery bags. Invest in reusable drinkware and always bring your own bags to the grocery store or farmer’s market.
To take that even a step further, shop at a package free grocery store. If there is one in your town, make the extra effort - you won’t be disappointed. Feel free to search here to find one near you. It’s often more cost effective and creates significantly less waste.
The more you know…
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON RECYCLING PLEASE VISIT: https://www.epa.gov/recycle