A number of years ago our family began recycling. We decided that since our family was growing we wanted to find effective ways to help make a difference in our community.
But what we didn’t know, and I hate to admit this, is that our family has been recycling many of the wrong things and in the wrong ways!
And apparently we aren’t the only ones!
On average about 30% of what consumers put in their recycling containers doesn’t belong there!
When it comes to recycling, everyone has a part. Whether you have a large family or not you can help make a difference.
In 2018 Republic Services launched the Recycling Simplified education campaign to help consumers get back to the basics when it comes to recycling. There’s also the Recycling Simplified Education Program, which contains everything educators need to teach students about recycling with step-by-step lesson plans and supporting materials including activities, videos, student certificates and handouts for students to bring home.
Here are three of the ways we have done recycling poorly…and if you’re doing these things, too, you need to stop!
NO NO #1
Some of the items we place in recycling bins are contaminated with food, liquid or other residues. Everything from BBQ sauce bottles to leftover food containers, pizza boxes, milk jugs, and ketchup bottles. And those little bits of leftover food can contaminate an entire truckload of recyclables! (yikes!)
NO NO #2
We also have participated in what is called “wish-cycling” – which is throwing items into our recycling bin that we hope can be recycled. If there was any guess in our minds that it could possibly be recycled we would throw it in there “just in case.”Regrettably, we have put everything from batteries, broken lawn chairs and even old tennis shoes into our recycling bin! (deep sigh…)
NO NO #3
We put our recycling into one extra-large black trash bag. We wrongly thought it was easier to use a big trash bag for two reasons: It’s easier for us to collect it in one large bag and we honestly thought it was easier on the recycling company to keep it contained. But it’s not! Our recycling companies do not want our recyclables in bags! (oops!)
We want to be a part of helping other families learn what is and isn’t acceptable when it comes to recycling.
So, here’s a little reminder of what TO DO when it comes to recycling!
Recycling: Simple as 1-2-3
1) Know what to throw.
Stick to these three basic categories of materials and when in doubt, throw it out.
Paper and cardboard
Metal or aluminum cans
Plastic bottles and jugs
Check with your local recycling company about glass.
**If it’s not on the list do not include it in your bin!
2) Empty. Clean. Dry. ®
Keep all recyclables free of food and liquid to avoid contaminating an entire truckload.
**If there is any food or residue inside, it’s contaminated and can ruin an entire load of recyclables. Empty. Clean. Dry. ® Keep all recyclables free of food and liquid to avoid contaminating an entire truckload.
3) Don’t bag it. Never put your recyclables in containers or bags unless your community program requires that.
**Just dump your items straight into your recycling bin!
If you’d like more information visit the website RecyclingSimplified.com. They offer tips, videos, educational material and resources to help reduce contamination rates.