Lifestyle * Travel * Food

Jan 10, 2019

Tips for Recycling the Right Way

While recycling is a great way to be environmentally friendly, you should know there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about recycling materials you use every day. The reason it’s best everyone knows how to go about recycling is so you don’t end up doing more harm than good. Here are a few tips to level up your Earth-saving endeavors.

Throw Away Disposable Coffee Cups

Before you toss the coffee cup from your favorite coffee shop into the recycling bin, know that those cups often cannot be recycled. This is due to the polyethylene film lining the cup, which is what makes it liquid proof. That said, you may live in an area that can now recycle such cups. Be sure you check with your local recycling program to know whether to toss these cups in the recycling bin or in the trash.

Plastic Bags Cannot Be Added to Recycling Bins

It may crush you to learn that all those thin plastic bags you get from the grocery store cannot be mixed in with other recyclable materials, but it’s true. It’s not that these plastic bags are impossible to recycle, just that it’s more trouble than it’s worth trying to run the bags through recycling equipment. It’s not unusual for them to jam equipment.

Rather than put plastic grocery bags with the rest of your recyclables, check to see if your city has a special recycling program for plastic bags. Your local grocery store may even collect plastic bags that are otherwise destined for the trash.

Be Careful With Pizza Boxes

After you finish devouring your pizza, think twice before tossing it into the recycling bin. Any grease that soaks into the cardboard essentially contaminates the material and makes is less viable than grease-free cardboard. That said, it’s okay to add the box to the recycle pile if it just has a few crumbs on it. You can also tear off the top of the box if it’s clean to put in the bin and toss the greasy bottom half into the trash.

Plastic Bottle Caps Are Okay

In the past, it was advised that you not try to recycle plastic bottle caps. This was mainly because caps and their bottles are made of two different types of plastic that don’t melt at the same temperature. Recent technology has changed that for the better. You’re now free to leave plastic caps screwed onto their bottles.

You May Not Be Able To Recycle Yogurt Caps

At one point, China took care of roughly half the world’s recycling, but they’ve dramatically scaled back their efforts. This has left a vacuum and resulted in more than a bit of confusion about what to do with certain plastics, like those used for yogurt cups. Plastics numbered three to seven may not qualify for your area’s recycling program. Before tossing butter tubs, yogurt cups and bottles of vegetable oil into your recyclables pile, look to see what number is in the triangle on the bottom. Do some digging to see what plastic numbers can be recycled. There may also be a renewable resource company like the Cadiz Water Project in your area making an effort to recycle yogurt cups and other plastics.  

Styrofoam Is Still Out of the Question

Frustrating as it may be to learn, but Styrofoam is still considered non-recyclable. The main reason is the material is easily contaminated. While it may be clean when you add it to the recycling bin, it can pick up contaminants on the way to the facility. Those contaminants don’t come out easily, and Styrofoam isn’t very marketable.

Do an occasional check so you always know whether you’re doing as good with recycling as you think. The right information goes a long way in saving resources and time. Hopefully, these tips can aid you in your quest to be more environmentally conscious.
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