In order to create less trash, recycling is important. However, don’t make these common recycling mistakes…
You fail to learn your local recycling rules: This is a top mistake. If you don’t know your local rules, you’ll be unable to recycle to the best of your abilities. Recycling should be a national issue, to make it easy for families, but it’s not. States and even cities have their very own recycling abilities and rules, so simply thinking you can recycle on a national level is incorrect. For example, greasy pizza boxes, as noted above, are usually a recycling no no. However, Minneapolis-based Eureka Recycling has found a way to make greasy boxes recyclable, while over in Illinois, they’ve got better electronic waste recycling rules in place than other states. Recycling rules and systems vary a lot, so be sure you know your local laws. Read Recycling Laws and Campaigns in the United States to learn more.
You toss icky, greasy, food covered packaging into your bins: Greasy pizza boxes and other food covered packaging is almost always something you need to trash, not recycle. Greasy and food ridden cardboard can mess up an entire load of recyclables at a center, making it necessary to toss stuff that could have been recycled.
You waste time with nonsense recycling tasks: You don’t have to crush cans. You don’t have to remove jar labels. You don’t even need to aim for perfection when it comes to a bit of food in jars. Machinery at your recycling center will zap excess peanut butter out and even if you can’t get that slice of lemon out of the beer bottle, it’s still recyclable. Don’t make recycling harder by wasting time on all these little things. Just toss recyclables into your bins and go.
You don’t recycle glossy paper: In the past, recycling centers didn’t take glossy magazine paper or other shiny paper goods and people have really stuck to that rule. In fact, Magazine Publishers of America, notes that just 20% of magazines are recycled. Nowadays, though, all curbside recycling programs that take paper DO accept magazines for recycling.
You recycle everything curbside: You can’t just toss every old recyclable item into your recycling bins. Curbside recycling is usually for basic recyclables – glass, paper and plastic. Many items can’t be recycled curbside, but can still be recycled elsewhere. For example, electronics, cell phones, CFLs, hazardous waste and other stuff can all be recycled, but needs to end up at specific recycling centers and food should be composted, not recycled. To make sure you recycle items correctly check Earth 911 for recycling centers near you.
You never recycle: Recycling varies everywhere, but most areas have something in place that eliminates some of your trash. Make sure you try to recycle what you can.
You always recycle: Recycling is a good deal, but it actually uses up a fair amount of energy and other resources, such as water. IF you can re-purpose an item and use it for something else, before you recycle it, that’s the smarter choice. For example, use old glass jars to store herbs, spices, buttons and so on and turn cereal boxes into fun projects. Your goal should be to reduce as much as you can, buy reusable items and to try and reuse before you recycle.