So I’ve been recycling wrong this whole time?
So I’ve been researching and reforming and here’s what I found out:
■ You cannot put pizza boxes in the cardboard recyling. The same is true of paper trash, no napkins that were used with fried chicken, or paper towels that wiped up butter. The cardboard and paper are mixed with water and become a liquid sludge, since oil and water don’t mix they need you to leave greasy items out.
■ You cannot recycle aluminum foil that is bunched up. They can’t recycle foil that was used with any kind of meat or baking. It has to be clean, so if the foil is clean, smooth it out and put it in the bin. If they see it bunched up they’ll assume it is dirty and toss it aside.
■ Remove all lids from plastic bottles and containers. They are a different type of plastic from the bottle. Besides, loose lids are likely to fly off the truck to become roadside litter. And thoroughly rinse all milk or yogurt containers twice. Both are a medium for mold, so they are the “yuckiest” items the plant handles and they often have a coat of fur growing inside. The employees will greatly appreciate your effort.
■ Never mix office paper with paper towels, newspaper or napkins. Regular paper can be recycled five times unless it is mixed with the thin flimsy stuff then it can only go through once. Try not to shred paper, that weakens the fibers so that it can only be recycled once. And never recycle bright colored paper, that’s like throwing a red sock in with your whites.
■ Never wrap magazines or newspaper with twine. The recycling center doesn’t have time to separate these items so your recycling will go right back to the dump.
■ Never recycle boxes used for Kleenex, margarine or Chinese take out. All three have some plastic in the top or coating the inside. Composite items just can’t be recycled, so they go right back in the trash.
■ You cannot toss plastic bags filled with plastic bottles into any recycling bin, at the sorting center the bags get caught in the conveyor belt and gum up the machinery. Then some poor employee has to climb up to the pile and work them back out. Consequently the recycling center redirects any recycling that is “bagged” right back to the dump.
■ Don’t worry about removing paper labels from tin cans, a powerful magnet is used to separate these out at the recycling plant. But, do put the lid back inside the can. 15% of the metal in a tin can is in the lid, but you don’t want to toss it in the bin loose. Can lids have the greatest potential to cut someone so push the lid into the bottom of the empty can.