There are different rules for recycling in each city, making it complicated for residents who want to know how to recycle correctly. The reality is recycling is confusing.
There is no global recycling system, and there is no universal method. But while we improve our reducing and reusing practices, we can’t prevent recycling, so we should attempt to do it properly.
Bags dissolve into harmful microplastics that, and when eaten or entangled, can hurt or kill animals. They are the worst. Even though they are theoretically recyclable, you must bring them to a drop-off location, not your curbside container.
Most cities agree that plastic bags are the chief contaminant in recycling drop-offs. Plastic bags are “tanglers,” becoming trapped in equipment and disrupting the process.
Workers at some facilities can’t open the plastic bags that contain recyclables. That means that the entire bag, even if it consists of soda cans, will be deemed trash.
Sandwich bags, bubble wrap, plastic wrap, and other flimsy substances that are resilient enough to endure the poke test are also perfect contenders to be relocated to commercial drop-off sites rather than your home recycling bin.
This means put your recyclables loosely in your blue bins instead of bagging them.
Anything smaller than a credit card should never be recycled, including straws, bottle caps, coffee pods, plastic cutlery, paper clips, and a million other tiny objects that can be jammed in the recycling equipment. This includes the caps you leave on bottles.
According to the Association of Plastic Recyclers, when plastics are turned into pellets, different plastics have different weights and can easily be separated.
You can sometimes take metal bottle caps, which often fall off glass bottles, to companies that can use them for scrap.
In the U.S., food garbage ruins 25 percent of our recycling.
Therefore, when recycling plants, people need to rinse out their recycling loads properly.
A good rule of thumb is that if it’s clean enough to use again, it’s clean enough to recycle. This ensures that it actually makes it past the plant’s screening and filtering process and gets reused.
Pizza boxes are recyclable if they aren’t ruined by grease and cheese. However, you can always remove the dirty part and recycle what’s left.
Recycling works best when materials are grouped. Unfortunately, objects such as plastic coated coffee cups, laminated paper, and bubble-tape envelopes can’t be separated, so they become trash.
Avoid buying these sorts of materials. There are plenty of alternatives, such as paper cups.
Different plastics are treated differently. Stiff plastics are recyclable and are labeled by resin codes that range from 1 through 7. Generally, the greater the number, the less likely it can be recycled. If the resin code is 1 or 2, then there is no problem. However, anything greater than 2 requires a special facility or cannot be recycled at all.
Also, a lot of plastic isn’t recyclable curbside. As mentioned earlier, plastic bags, films, and paper can’t be recycled. That means no bags from crackers, chips, or cereal.
The proper thing to do is check the plant’s documentation about what they will and will not accept, since every city, and sometimes every plant, is different.
It makes sense that you would want to recycle. In theory, it’s one of the better ways to reduce our individual impact on the environment. However, in practice, there are rules. Hopefully, you have a better understanding after reading this.