I received a great response to my recent post about recycling paper. Recycling always seems to be a great mystery, as so many cities and municipalities have varying rules. When you consider that the average American produces 4.5 pounds of trash DAILY (75% of that IS recyclable), we certainly want to make the right decisions.
It’s often hard to compile a “grand list” of everything you can and cannot do, but the best resource I can provide is earth911. Simply enter your area code on the homepage and you will (hopefully) find your city or recycling resource to answer specific questions.
But, in the broad sense, I hope to help dispel some myths about the “real” answers for recycling… some may be a big surprise…
- Paper – refer to my prior post… I think I covered it all!
- Glass – rinse out the original contents as best you can. Don’t worry about labels since they’ll be removed in processing. You CAN recycle the metal caps(!)… most recyclers will accept them. Do NOT attempt to recycle treated glass, like plates, drinking glasses, windows, etc. This glass is, unfortunately, contaminated due to the special “treatment” they have received.
- Metals – every can should be hitting the recycling can! Soup, soda, veggie cans (even the top you’ve removed)… they’re all recyclable. Even wire coat hangers, aluminum foil, pie tins… include them all! And a new revelation to me… aerosol cans, as long as they have not contained a hazardous waste. I sincerely never knew they could be recycled, but just be sure they are EMPTY. That is the key. If your recycler does not accept them, they will be quickly weeded-out, but it’s worth a try!
- Plastic – most plastic bottles and jugs (with necks narrower than the body) can be recycled, just be sure to remove the plastic caps. They are a different type of plastic and can cause contamination in the recycling process. Number 5 plastics are often questionable. This is one where you should definitely refer to your local recycler, but remember that there is a use for Number 5’s!… don’t count them out and send them to the trash can too quickly! They are also good candidates for the reuse category, although maybe not for food items, due to the plastic-leaching issues.
Take these tips, memorize them and soon your 75% of daily trash will find its way to the proper destination… the cherished land of “Recycleville!”