We all want to do recycling right. We want to recycle everything. Save the Planet! Be Kind to Mother Earth! All that jazz! And the truth of the matter is that most everything can be recycled. BUT, and this is a BIG DEAL, not everything can be recycled CURBSIDE.
So we have to figure out where to draw the line. There are no federal guidelines. Every community has its own protocol. This makes it confusing. The best way to find out what your community will accept with their curbside recycling program is to check the municipal website or your hauler website. If you don’t see it on the list, it isn’t recyclable (I’m looking at you folks who call and ask if bowling balls are recyclable!)
Keep it simple. Be sure to recycle the basics. You don’t have to go all crazy green. Do your part with the easy stuff.
PAPER. Newspaper, office paper, junk mail, envelopes, soft covered books, paper board (like pantry boxes and tissue boxes), non-foil wrapping paper (no glitter either), magazines, circulars, note pad paper, phone books.
CARDBOARD. Break down those shipping boxes and packaging into 24” x 24” and put them to the curb!
GLASS. Food and drink containers. Rinse out. Check with your municipality about caps and lids. Some say throw them out, others ask that you put them back on to recycle.
ALUMINUM. The grand daddy of all! Most recyclable and can be recycled indefinitely without losing quality. This includes beverage cans and food cans, baking trays, clean tinfoil, pie tins. Generally, this does not include siding from your house. That would be considered construction material.
PLASTIC. Here’s where it is more difficult to determine. You see the recycle symbol on the bottom, you see it has a number, therefore, it must be recyclable. Not so! The number you see does indeed determine what the product is made out of, but does not always indicate that it can be taken curbside. A good example: grocery bags. Made from #2 or #4 plastic. Can NOT be recycled curbside. Take them back to the grocery store for recycling. (NEVER bag your recyclables. Seriously. Never!) If you’re confused, and please note, we are all confused, try recycling by shape: bottles, jars, jugs and tubs is a great start.
We can make this work if we work together. Keep contamination out of the recycling stream. ALWAYS recycle the basics. Remember, without you … it’s just trash.
Wishing you a wonderful Spring! Stay safe. Stay well.
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Dr. Lawrence Shafer
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