We watched a show on recycling and trash the other day. I know, I know… yawn! But it was really interesting, and I learned some new stuff. Like, did you know that those paper dairy and juice containers that have a plastic spout on the side are recyclable? The show stated that so many things are recyclable, so when in doubt, just to throw the clean item into the recycle bin. They even said that wrappers from cheese are recyclable.
Here’s a list of stuff that’s recyclable and what’s not from some of my local facilities. Check with your local place to see if they agree.
- Corrugated cardboard (boxes)
- Office paper (all colors)
- Paperboard (cereal boxes)
- Paper cardboard dairy/juice cartons
- Unsolicited direct mail (even window envelopes are okay)
- Phone books
- Waxed paper
- Food-contaminated paper (such as a cheese-encrusted pizza box)
- Mixed metal and paper (like stapled paper – just remove the staple and the paper can be recycled)
- Aluminum cans
- Foil and aluminum bakeware
- Steel cans and tins (rinsed-out soup cans, veggie cans, coffee cans, etc.)
- Wire coat hangers
- Empty aerosol cans
- Food-contaminated metals (like a half-eaten can of beans – rinse out the beans and the can is good to recycle!)
- Automotive parts
- Plumbing parts
- Paint cans with wet or dried-on paint (these are hazardous materials)
- Electronics (these are hazardous materials)
Glass is endlessly recyclable! Most glass bottles & jars produced in the US now contain at least 25% recycled glass – which also requires 75% less energy to produce than glass made from new materials.
- Clear glass (rinsed mayonnaise containers, pasta sauces, pickle jars, etc.)
- Brown amber glass typically used for beer
- Green bottles typically used for wine
- Any glass contaminated with stones, dirt and food waste
- Ceramics, such as dishware, ovenware, and decorative items
- Heat-resistant glass, such as Pyrex
- Mirror or window glass
- Metal or plastic caps, corks or lids
- Light bulbs (these are hazardous materials)
- CRTs found in some older TVs & computer monitors (these are hazardous materials)
Did you know that Americans discard 38 billion plastic water bottles every year?
One important thing to keep in mind as you recycle plastics is that cleanliness is essential. One dirty product, or one with food waste still in it, can contaminate an entire bale containing thousands of pounds of collected plastics.
When you turn the bottle over and see a number with the arrows symbol, that number is the “resin identification code,” or RIC or type of polymer. Each number represents a different type of plastic, and fortunately, recycling centers sort these for you, so you don’t have to worry about it.
And, don’t forget, organic materials are recyclable too… composting