A guide to great recycling

January 9, 2024

If increased recycling, or beginning to recycle, is on your list of new actions for 2024, follow these tips to ensure success! Or, if you are already a pro, share them with friends or family who could use some help to recycle correctly.

By following a few simple guidelines, we can prevent “wishcycling.” That’s when we toss things into the bin and wish they were included in our local programs without checking first.

Tips for recycling right

  • Know What’s Recyclable – In most programs, you can recycle clean, dry paper, such as cardboard and other boxes, envelopes, junk mail, magazines, newspapers, office paper, school papers, paperback books, paper grocery bags, and wrapping paper with no metal. You can also typically recycle metal cans, glass bottles and jars, and plastic bottles and jugs. Your community may differ on some materials, so be sure to use the “learn more” tip below.
  • Label Bins Clearly – Inside your home, label your recycling bins clearly to remind family and guests what can and cannot be recycled. Simple, visible labels can make a big difference.
  • Empty, Clean, and Dry – Empty bottles and other containers, remove excess residue, rinse them out, and allow them to air-dry.
  • Save Space in the Bin – Break down and flatten boxes before recycling. If needed, cut cardboard into smaller pieces to fit in your collection bin. Crush aluminum cans and plastic bottles.
  • Keep It Loose – Don’t bag your recycling. Recyclables should be loose as they go into the bin.
  • Avoid Hazardous Materials – Never mix tanglers, like hoses or cords, or hazardous waste, such as batteries, chemicals, or medical sharps, with your recycling. These items can endanger workers and damage equipment.
  • Steer Clear of Contaminants – Keep “yucky” items out of the recycling! This includes dirty recyclables, greasy pizza boxes, and especially diapers.
  • Learn More – Look for your local solid waste authority’s website, call them, or follow them on social media for specific information on how to recycle in your community. Recycling only the materials that are accepted where you live is key to being a successful recycler!

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