Many items can be recycled if cleaned and placed in the correct container. To be safe, always check with your local recycler to know what can be accepted. The recyclates are then transported to a processing facility for sorting and cleaning. Afterward, they are sent to manufacturing facilities and made into new products.
Recyclable items tossed into recycling bins or dropped off at curbside are then delivered to a local facility called a Material Recovery Facility (MRF). At the MRF, these materials are sorted and cleaned before they’re baled together for shipment to manufacturers for use in new products. It’s important to remember that not all materials are recyclable, and it’s even more important to recycle correctly. You need to check with your local waste hauler and find which items can be recycled in your program and what can be discarded in the trash.
Waste management accepted recyclables such as paper, glass, and plastics. Cardboard containers and boxes can also be recycled but must be clean and flattened. It consists of all cardboard cartons (egg cartons, cereal boxes, moving and detergent boxes), chipboard (single-ply cardboard), and corrugated cardboard (wavy interior). Newspapers and junk mail can be placed in the recycling container and magazines. CLEAN, empty metal cans are also acceptable, including aluminum cans, tin and steel cans, and EMPTY aerosol cans. Many electronics are also recyclable, and most cities have programs to help you recycle TV sets and computer monitors, cathode ray tubes (CRT), and liquid crystal display (LCD) screens. Batteries can also be recycled, including AAA, AA, C, D, button cell and 9-volt rechargeable batteries, and lead-acid automotive batteries.
Many types of paper are recyclable, including newspapers, magazines, junk mail, and white and colored office paper. Some paper products may require prep, like removing tape, labels, and food residues before recycling. Cardboard is also recyclable, but flatten it and remove any metal or plastic parts before placing it in the bin.
Items made from recycled paper and cardboard are often used in manufacturing new paper, containers, boxes, and other things. Some types of paper can even be turned into a form of insulation. Recycling paper, cardboard, and other materials save energy and natural resources that would be used to harvest, process, and transport raw materials for new goods.
Common recycled plastics include bottles, jugs, to-go clamshells, and yogurt cups. It’s essential to check the recycle symbols on these items to ensure they are recyclable with your provider and program. Look for the item’s chasing arrows symbol and resin number for clarification.
Metals are typical recyclables, but avoiding combining different metal types in a single container is essential. Different metals have other properties that are hard to connect and can damage machinery at the MRF. Also, remember that if metals are stuffed together or crimped, they become challenging to recycle. Keeping metals loose makes them easier to sort and recycle.
It’s important to remember that not all recyclable materials are created equal. Some are more valuable than others or are used for different purposes. It makes it challenging to compare recycling costs with purchasing new raw materials. It is also essential to recognize that certain recycled materials have unfavorable market costs, or “economic externalities,” not reflected in current market prices. Commonly recycled plastics include food and beverage containers (with caps on), jugs, and plastic bags. Look for a resin number inside a recycling arrow on the bottom of your plastic objects; this code identifies the plastic used to produce that item. The most commonly recycled resin numbers are #1, #2, #3, #4, and #5.
Some people may wonder why recycling styrofoam or egg cartons is impossible. These items are typically not accepted by curbside recycling programs but may be dropped off at local locations that specialize in those products. The plastic film should not be put in regular recycling because it clings to machinery at sorting facilities. It slows down the process and increases the cost for recycling processors. For this reason, most recyclers do not accept plastic film in curbside recycling programs. However, it can be quickly dropped off at local recycling centers.
Many people need clarification about what is considered recyclable, especially curbside recycling. Some items need to be recyclable, and some are recycled incorrectly, making the process more difficult. If you have curbside recycling, you must check with your local program to find out what is accepted and what is not. Generally, curbside recycling programs take paper with no residue, glass bottles and jars (with caps removed), plastic bottles #1 to #7, aluminum cans and metal food containers, and empty aerosol cans.
Glass is commonly recycled because it can be used repeatedly to make new products, unlike some materials that only serve one purpose. It is also a great way to save natural resources and protect the environment. Most glass is recycled into new bottles, jars, and other products. It can also be made into various things, such as fiberglass insulation and automotive parts. Some glass is even used to create silicon for solar energy storage. Some items that need recyclable through curbside recycling include light bulbs, ceramic dishes and vases, and other household items. These items are made of a different type of glass than that used to make beverage and food packaging, and they cannot be recycled with the same system. If you have any of these items, you should donate them to a charity or throw them in the trash.