Don’t get carried away! Be a smart recycler.

March 7, 2023

“Getting carried away” is something we say when someone is losing control and taking something too far — even if it’s a good thing. We all have learned that recycling is good for the planet. But did you know that some people get carried away when they recycle?

These folks want to do the right thing and recycle, so sometimes they toss things into the recycling bin that cannot be recycled, hoping that they will get recycled. The truth is, they won’t! Other times, people leave a lot of food or liquid in the recyclable bottles or cans that they place into the bin. This makes a big mess! In both cases, the messy mix of recycling and garbage takes hard work, time, and money to separate. Sometimes the mess is impossible to sort out. Then the recyclables are ruined and may have to be sent to a landfill.

This is why it is important to know what to recycle and how to prepare it before placing anything into the recycling bins at your home, work, school, and drop-off centers.
Be a smart recycler. Don’t get carried away by tossing everything into the recycling bin whether it is recyclable or not. While you are at it, help your family members, neighbors, and friends learn to be smart recyclers too!

What should I recycle?

●Your local solid waste management district or hauler will have a complete list of accepted materials. Search for them online or call them to find out what is recyclable where you live.
●Not all plastics are recyclable. Just because your bottle or container has a recycling symbol and number doesn’t mean it can be recycled in your community. Be sure to check the list of accepted materials before placing plastics in your bin.
●Check out the Earth911 Recycling Search.

How should I prepare my recycling?

●Empty and rinse food and drink containers. Turn containers upside down and let them drip dry
●Flatten boxes.
●Recycle only clean paper products. Remember — paper and boxes soaked with grease or covered in sticky, spilled food should go into the garbage.
●Don’t bag your recycling unless your local program instructs you to do so. Even using a paper bag can cause problems. In almost all communities, you should put clean recyclables loose into the cart or bin.

Why should I recycle?

●Recycling keeps usable resources out of landfills.
●Making new products from recyclables uses less energy and creates less pollution.
●Recycling helps create jobs.

Where should I recycle?

Curbside collection may be available to you, or perhaps your community uses drop-off locations. To find out, search online for your local solid waste district or local city or county government. They will have all the instructions you need.

Image credit: Credit: Sergei Chuyko | iStock | Getty Images Plus