Effective Recycling

Everyone already knows (or definitely should know) that the act of recycling makes a major contribution in reducing waste and preserving virgin materials.  Recycling also goes a long way in preventing the amount of potentially useful materials from going to waste, which causes more resources to be utilized than truly necessary.  Other benefits of recycling include reduced energy consumption which, in turn, leads to vastly reduced greenhouse gas emissions, which are a byproduct of continuous virgin materials production.

Recyclable materials include a wide variety of sources that are used within the home and in manufacturing.  These include, but are certainly not limited to, paper, plastics, glass, textiles, iron, aluminum, and asphalt.  Other materials that are considered to be recyclable include biodegradable waste such as garden waste or food waste.  These types of waste materials are recyclable with the aid of microorganisms that break down the compounds during the natural process of anaerobic digestion.

Here are a few tips to help you determine what is recyclable and the best ways to recycle it:

Metal and aluminum:  These include aluminum lids, cans, and bottle tops.  Before you recycle them you should clean them thoroughly.  Avoid trying to recycle any metal that is magnetic, as they are not recyclable.  Also avoid attempting to recycle any metal that is covered with hazardous material, as it is obviously hazardous for the recycling personnel to handle. 

Paper (including newspaper): Never try to recycle moldy newspaper.  Only recycle paper that is dry and clean.  Tie it securely together in a paper bag but never use rubber bands. 

Glass:  Never break the glass.  Recyclable glass is usually limited to glass that is unbroken and clear.  The reason that broken glass is not suitable is because it is extremely difficult to process and sort due to the hazards it can cause to recycling personnel.

Batteries (including car batteries):  Most consumer batteries are not recyclable but car batteries and phone batteries are.  Local battery recycling depends on availability so call 1-800-8BATTERY to find out what is available near you.

Plastic:  Plastics can vary greatly.  There is high quality to low-quality plastics.  The first two grades are highly recyclable and desirable.  However, when plastic is marked with a number three or higher number it is generally not suitable for recycling.  These lower quality plastics may contaminate higher quality plastics during the recycling process and thus should be sorted out before disposal or recycling.


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