Recycle!

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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle is a mantra adopted by many. The benefits of recycling are many, yet based on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), only 34.5 percent of what Americans shed gets recycled. What’s more, lots of people who regularly recycle may be unaware that they are making mistakes. Are you recycling correctly? Keep reading to learn what you might be doing wrong and how to become a recycling pro.

Mistake #1: Thinking something cannot be recycled

Many men and women throw things from the garbage which can and should be recycled or upcycled. With a little bit of exploring, you can drop certain household thing at recycling facilities, arrange to have your items picked up, or contribute them. Crayons, for instance, can be donated to needy children, children’s hospitals, Melbourne Beach Opossum Removal, or sent to the National Crayon Recycle Program. According to GreenAmerica.org, these are just a few of the common items that should be recycled and kept away from landfills:

For a complete list of items that can be recycled and how to recycle them, see search.earth911.com.

Mistake #2: Tossing bottle caps in the trash

Until recently, we were instructed to remove all bottle caps from bottles before recycling. Caps from common household products, such as soda and water bottles are often made from polypropylene plastic (marked by the number 5 on containers) and lots of recycling facilities didn’t have the correct equipment to recycle them. Improved recycling technology now makes it feasible to recycle whole bottles – caps and all. Some – not all – facilities throughout Connecticut accept bottle caps. Check with your local recycling facility to find out more.

Mistake #3: Filling your recycling bin with dirty pizza boxes

The cardboard box your pizza comes in is recyclable – if it’s clean. Boxes covered with oil stains and stuck-on cheese makes a mess of the recycling process. Unlike glass and plastics (which uses heat throughout the recycling process) cardboard uses water to break down the fibers into a pulp. The oils released during the method ends up destroying the quality of batch that’s being made into new paper and cardboard. Before putting your favorite pizza takeout box at the recycle bin cut or trim greasy spots.

Mistake #4: Recycling plastic shopping bags

Sure they’re made of plastic, but plastic shopping bags are notorious for getting caught in the automated sorting machines at recycling centers. Once thought to be utilitarian, plastic bags are damaging the environment and recycling center equipment! Many grocery and retail shops have bins to collect plastic bags.

Mistake #5: Putting shredded paper in the recycling bin

According to the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP), shredded paper is just as bad for recycling equipment as plastic shopping bags. That’s because those very small shreds of paper can clog up the machines and get mixed in and tangled with other recyclables. DEEP suggest shredding documents only when absolutely necessary. In case you’ve shredded paper to get rid of, think about turning it into compost. Since wood-based paper is biodegradable, it is going to mix in well with your mulch pile.

Mistake #6: All plastics are not created equal

The numbers on the bottom of your plastic containers represent the sort of material used and are a guide as to whether or not you can toss them on your home recycling bin. The following is a list of the common types of plastic and whether or not they can be recycled:

Number 1: polyethylene terephthalate; containers made from this substance include soda bottles, water bottles, and peanut butter containers. Plastics marked number 1 can be put in your curbside recycling bin.
Number 2: high density polyethylene; milk jugs, fruit juice bottles, and shampoo/conditioner bottles are usually made from this material. Number 2 plastics can be set in your curbside recycling bin.
Number 3: vinyl or PVC; containers made from this substance include detergent bottles, window cleaner bottles, and vinyl siding. Number 3 plastics aren’t picked up within your curbside recycling.
Number 4: low density polyethylene; dry cleaning bags, shopping bags, and squeezable bottles are made from this material. Number 4 plastics are normally not recycled through at-home curbside pick-up. Some laundry bags and shopping bags can be returned to the original place of business. These plastics are sometimes recycled; request your local recycling center.
Number 6: polystyrene; egg cartons and disposable cups and plates are made from polystyrene. Not all curbside recycling takes number 6 plastics; consult your local recycling facility.
Number 7: miscellaneous substances: sunglasses, DVDs, and 5-gallon water bottles are made from number 7 miscellaneous plastics. These plastics are usually not picked up as part of your curbside recycling.

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