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HannahWhittenly posted a blog entry in HannahWhittenly's BlogAs recycling technology has improved over the past decade, it has led to some confusion regarding what can and cannot be recycled. Can you throw plastic bags in the recycling bin? Do you have to wash out jars and bottles before recycling? What about Styrofoam and used paper towels? These tips can help you better understand what is recyclable and what should be tossed into the trash. Plastic Bags Although most recycling facilities have the ability to recycle plastic bags, most prefer that they not be included in a recycling container other than those designed for plastic bags. Bags can wrap around and jam recycling equipment and they can contaminate paper bales, according to some recycling companies. Instead of tossing them into your recycling bin, take them to specialized locations for recycling. Many grocery and department stores now have bins available for plastic bag recycling. Plastic Bottle Caps Although caps and plastic bottles are made from different types of plastic, both are recyclable. Keep the cap on the bottle as a loose cap can slip through the sorting lines at a recycling facility and end up in the trash accidentally. Separated caps are also difficult to spot as the recyclable material is sorted going into the machinery. Styrofoam In most cases, Styrofoam is still not recyclable. Styrofoam, which is actually expanded polystyrene, can be contaminated easily. Since recycling facilities do not deep clean the items they process, dirt can be embedded into the recycling material. Styrofoam is also a petroleum product, making it flammable and difficult to break down. However, some recycling companies do have special Styrofoam recycling technology, so you should check with your recycling center to know if they accept Styrofoam. Although people don’t tend to have a ton of Styrofoam piling up, they are more likely to accumulate a ton of it when they are moving or renovating. This is because it is in the packing supplies or in the boxes of new appliances. If you ever find yourself in this situation and cannot find a place to recycle it, make sure that you get a trash bin from a company like Kingston Skips that specializes in disposing of different types of rubbish so that you can make sure that it is properly taken care of. Pizza Boxes Most people believe that pizza boxes, which often have the recyclable symbol imprinted on them, can be tossed into the recycling bin. However, most programs do not accept pizza boxes due to the food and grease that can accumulate on the box. In fact, most food containers that contain greasy foods are not recyclable, such as Chinese take-out boxes. Because materials are not cleaned at the recycling center, you should rinse food residue from jars and bottles as much as possible. The jar or bottle does not have to be spotless, but most of the food left on the inside should be rinsed. Used napkins and paper towels are not recyclable for the same reasons. Juice and Milk Cartons Although juice and milk cartons are mostly made of paper, they often have a thin coating on the outside. In addition, some juice containers have an aluminum foil lining to keep the juice fresher. Although all three of those items are recyclable, it can be difficult for the center to separate them. Check with your recycling center to be sure that they have the equipment available to separate the different components from juice and milk cartons. Recycling is one of the best ways to protect the environment. By understanding what is and is not recyclable, you will not only make it easier on those who must collect and process recyclable items, you can also make adjustments in your daily life, avoiding those items that are not recyclable in order to reduce landfill waste.
HannahWhittenly posted a blog entry in HannahWhittenly's BlogWith the average person in the United States generating over 4 pounds of trash per day, the importance of recycling should be blatantly clear. The things we discard have long been finding their way into the soil that produces our food, the water we drink, and the air we breathe. Our trash contributes to the break-down of ecosystems and directly kills millions of animals per year. Sadly, the trash itself isn’t the only problem. Not only are we throwing it out in the first place, but we are manufacturing more of the same products that we discard. When we manufacture new glass jars, aluminum cans, or paper, we are cutting down more trees, using more energy, emitting more greenhouse gases, and using more water. What is the answer to this conundrum? Yes, recycling! Start with the no-brainers: aluminum cans, plastic bottles, glass jars, cardboard, newspapers and magazines. Yet, don’t stop there—keep going! Here are 10 things that you should consider recycling the next time you’re faced with the decision of whether or not to throw them out: 1. Mattresses: When you purchase a new mattress, be sure that your retailer participates in a mattress recycling program where they will properly discard your old one. 2. Plastic Cards: For example, gift cards, credit cards and hotel keys. This year’s used up gift card can live again as next year’s gift card. 3. CDs & DVDs: With the ability to stream and download, we don’t really need these any more. That means that so many are getting thrown out. Consider donating them or taking them somewhere that will recycle them properly. 4. Writing Utensils: You can send that cup full of dried up pens, markers, highlighters, mechanical pencils, and even those stray caps for recycling. 5. Packing peanuts: The Styrofoam variety are a big no-no for the landfills, but can be recycled into many different products. 6. Trophies: Your old high school trophies can be made into shiny, new trophies through special programs. 7. Electronic waste: Electronic devices should always be disposed of properly. Ware Disposal and other recycling companies actually specialize in depositing these items safely. 8. Auto fluids: If you change your own fluids, proper disposal is a must. Most automotive stores have a recycling program, and so just make sure that you ask whether or not they have one before you go to them for services. 9. Toothbrushes and razors: These and many other personal care products can be dismantled and recycled so that they don’t pile up in the landfill. 10. Christmas Trees: Most communities have recycling programs that will turn your holiday tree into anything from erosion barriers to fish habitats, which means that things that come from nature can go right back to benefiting the earth again. Most of these ideas are fairly easy to accomplish and really only the beginning to all of what you can do. Doing a quick internet search for recycling centers in your area will get you started, though. A little bit of knowledge and a few extra minutes of your time is all it takes to make a lasting impact on our planet for generations to come.