How to recycle the right way

More people everyday are aware of the essential need for recycling. There are a growing number of households starting to separate their trash and trying to do the right thing for their environment and the planet.

Still, with the increasing number of things that can be recycled, there is also a lot of confusion about what can be recycled and how. If you regularly separate plastic from paper, check if you’re doing it the right way.

1. Don’t use plastic bags as a container for recyclables


Of course, there is also the technology for recycling plastic bags, but it can’t be done in the same process that serves for recycling paper, for example. This means that once the recyclables are put into the process, plastic bags, made of #2 and #4 type of plastic, can cause serious problems if they are mixed with the rest of it. For instance, they can wrap around the smaller parts of the recycling machine and cause a jam. They also contaminate paper bundles or can be blown off by the wind from the landfill and end up in a river or the sea.

If you want to get rid of the plastic bags, check for the local stores that collect them or companies that collect them directly from households.

Ford F-150 uses Repreve recycled plastic in car

2. Plastic bottle caps can be recycled

In the past, plastic caps used to be a problem for recycling facilities. Cause they melt at a different temperature than plastic bottles. So they would need a separate recycling machine and process. They also posed a danger to workers, as they can shoot off while being compressed.

However, the technology today is more developed at places like All Green Recycling. So there are separate facilities for them today. Sometimes it is even advisable to leave caps on the bottles because they can slip through the cracks of the machine and end up on the landfill instead of being recycled.

  1. Shredded paper is not always acceptable

Paper is divided into high grade and mixed grade paper. Shredding paper reduces its grade to the mixed one, which is not acceptable for some recycling companies. There are some companies willing to collect paper with longer shreds only, but some don’t accept it at all. So, don’t shred your paper if you don’t really have to – maybe you’ll have to try with composting it.


4. Food containers are usually not recyclable

Pizza boxes or smoothie bottles are not of any use for the recycling companies because they soak up the grease from the food, which is almost impossible to remove. So, no use in throwing them into the paper recycling bin. However, they can be put into the compost bin and not just thrown away.

5. Juice boxes and milk cartons – hard to recycle

The issue with juice boxes and milk cartons is that they are the mix of #4 plastic and a thin layer of aluminum foil lining. These materials are easily recyclable separately, but some companies don’t have the technology for separating them, so they won’t accept them.

Of course, if you get lost while dividing various materials or if you have trouble transporting them, you can always consult rubbish collection professionals who can provide you with useful transport information or advice on how to separate different materials.

Don’t recycle this. Trash

Things that shouldn’t be thrown away

Of course, in order to recycle properly, here’s a list of things you shouldn’t get rid of:

  • electronics – old TVs and outdated mobile phones can be transported to recycling electronic companies or to charitable organizations that find people in need who would benefit from them.
  • wine corks – if you’re patient enough, you can get creative and make yourself a bulletin board out of wine corks or some other DIY project.
  • eyeglasses – a lot of people in developing countries need eyeglasses for their poor sight, but no money to buy them. Charitable organizations such as Lions Club International collect used eyeglasses and deliver them all around the world according to the right prescription.
  • old T-shirts – T-shirts are usually made of fabric that’s great for dusting your furniture of cleaning the floor. If you feel creative, check out ways to reuse old T-shirts.
  • toilet paper tubes – they can be great fun for kids, but they can also be useful for adults. Do research on how to reuse toilet paper tubs and you’ll be surprised – a handy dispenser, a way of keeping holiday lights disentangled and much more.

Finally, also check out this graphic for further tips. Tips to help Kids recycle too!

Helping Kids Learn To Reduce, Reuse and Recycle created by RMP USA

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