Many consumers today are not carefully considering which waste products they are sending off for recycling, causing problems and increased costs for these programs. Here are a few quick reminders on how to make sure you’re doing your part:
Do not send items contaminated with food waste. Food waste, particularly grease and other fats, can make paper recyclables unusable as a recycled material. And if you’re using a single-stream recycling program, making sure there is no food waste on your plastics or glass will help insure that paper is not contaminated as these items are all mixed together.
Know your plastics. Recycling programs that accept plastic items don’t typically accept all plastic types. You’ll find the number 1-7 inside the recycling symbol on plastic items. Check with your recycling program to understand which plastic types they can accept and process, and be sure to omit any plastic types that they’re not setup to handle.
Don’t dump electronics! Electronic equipment needs to be broken down into its component parts and recycled or disposed of properly. Do not put these items in your recycling or in your trash! Many of these items contain hazardous materials and will contaminate water or soil if they are simply dumped into a landfill. Instead, take your unwanted electronics to a drop-off site in your community where they can be properly processed.