Household Recycling Fails – What NOT to Do:
1. Unsure if it is recyclable? Just throw it in the bin. There are many items that seem like they should be recyclable but they are NOT. DO NOT throw things into your recycling bin that you are not sure are recyclable in your area. If your local recycling facility is not equipped to handle them, it can cause them extra time to get those items out of the recycling stream. Some items can even cause damage to the machinery. For instance, pizza boxes, milk cartons, and egg cartons have a good chance of NOT being recyclable in your area. Find out for sure.
2. Put all the recyclables in a plastic bag first. Your recycling bin has a purpose, and that is to hold your recyclables! So DO NOT put recyclables in a plastic bag, then into the bin. Plastic bags can damage the equipment at the recycling facility, and cause the staff to have extra work of ripping open or un-tying the bags. In some facilities, the bags of recycling may just make their way to the trash pile, rather than the recycling pile, like you intended. Plastic shopping bags should not go in a recycling bin, period. Bring them back to the store, or better yet, start using reusable bags to get them out of the system entirely.
3. Don’t bother rinsing food recyclables or removing styrofoam. We all know, that It only takes a few seconds to rinse out that yogurt cup or soup can, so please DO NOT be lazy and throw in dirty items. To help avoid additional odor, and increase efficiency at the recycling facility, make sure the items in the bins are relatively clean. They do not have to be perfectly spotless, as balers can help to crush out some of the extra liquids. But extra items that are not recyclable, like cardboard boxes with extra materials (styrofoam peanuts, plastic bags, or other non-recyclables) could give your cardboard a one-way ticket to the landfill instead of a roundtrip ticket to be recycled and used again.