Recycling in Your New Area
July 28, 2019 by Marty Orefice | Rent to Own
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In 2018, the statistic of the year was that we’ve recycled only 9.5 percent of all plastic that we’ve created. There are many reasons why that’s the case: the creation of plastics that aren’t recyclable, a lack of financial motivation to ensure plastic makes it back to recycling centers, but most relevantly to our discussion is contamination.
Frankly, we as a society want to do good, but we’re not doing a good job of doing good. We’re recycling more of the wrong products and less of the right ones.
Top Recycling Mistakes
There are some things that contaminate recycling everywhere. Recycling Today published that the top 5 things that contaminate recycling batches are:
- Plastic wrap, films and bags. Your grocery bags, saran wrap and other thin plastics aren’t recyclable through the bin. Look into the How2Recycle program to see if there’s somewhere you can specifically take these items for recycling instead.
- Bagged recyclables. Plastic bags aren’t recyclable through conventional pickup; therefore, you need to put your bottles into the recycling bin loose – not bagged.
- Things that tangle up the recycling machines, like clothes, garden hoses and electrical cords. Pro tip: donate these, look for specialty recycling programs for them or just put them in the regular bin
- Hazardous materials like propane, needles, batteries and paint etc. shouldn’t be placed in either bin. Look into how to properly dispose of these items in your local community.
- Foods, liquids and diapers might be compostable – depending on the material of the diaper – but they’re definitely not recyclable. Keep them out of your bin because these dilute the quality of the plastic resins that are produced through recycling and could contaminate a good batch!
What Are the Rules in Your Community?
Have you ever tossed one of your k-cups into the recycling bin. It’s plastic, so that might make sense, but many communities cannot recycle k-cups, meaning they need to go in the regular trash. At least, that’s the policy in Chicago, but it could be different in your city.
But, more often than not, communities have their own special recycling intricacies. In some communities, they prefer you remove the lids from bottles, in others, they ask that you leave them on. People who have lived in a community for years often don’t know the local policies, and they make mistakes. When you’re renting to own in a new to a city/state/neighborhood it can be even more confusing.
Solving the global plastics issue requires everyone’s help. While moving to a new area is a great excuse to make mistakes, it’s better if you avoid them altogether. Don’t assume that the rules from your old community apply in your new one. You could be the reason why a batch gets contaminated!
Reach out to your local waste management company or look for an online resource that can help you better understand what belongs in what bin.
Once you’re educated on what proper recycling protocol is for your new area, talk to your neighbors about the fun facts you’ve learned. It’s an easy way to start a conversation, and you’ll be helping the global community.