Let’s face it – most New Year’s resolutions can be expensive and daunting, but resolving to be a better recycler is easy! We all start somewhere, and whether you’re brand new or an on-and-off recycler, these tips will help you make recycling a simple habit all year.
- Know what to throw. There are several materials that are considered recycling gold because of their ability to be remade into new products. Focus on cardboard, paper, aluminum cans, and plastic bottles and jugs to make the most impact.
- Empty, clean and dry. These are the three magic words of recycling. Every item in your recycling bin should be free of liquid and food residue (think ketchup bottles). When items are soiled, they can contaminate other perfectly good recyclables (think paper), and those contaminated materials will end up in the landfill. Give your recyclable containers a rinse, then tap out the excess water, leaving no more than a teaspoon.
- When in doubt, throw it out. There will be times when you just aren’t sure if something should be recycled or not. It’s best to toss the item in the waste bin when that happens. For example, a pizza box is made of cardboard, but if grease and cheese are stuck to the box, it can’t be recycled. Same goes for to-go coffee cups, paper plates, napkins, and towels.
- Don’t bag it. While it might seem to make sense to place recyclables in a plastic bag, it’s a big no-no. Materials must stay loose so they can easily be sorted and separated at the recycling center. And that plastic bag isn’t recyclable via your curbside program. (But most grocery stores have plastic bag collection bins near the entrance.)
Follow these tips and you can happily check off one of the resolutions on your list. For more articles about recycling, please visit our blog.