RECYCLING TIPS: A guide to recycling's most common misconceptions and how to correct them
Want to live a more “green” lifestyle, but don’t know where to begin? There are the big changes, like switching to solar power, driving hybrid cars, and composting. Then there are the little changes, like supporting brands that have stated sustainability missions (like ZenWTR!), bringing a reusable bag with you when you shop, and of course, recycling! And we don’t mean just recycling bottles and cans. We mean recycling everything. we. can.
WHEN RECYCLING, KNOW WHAT’S IN AND OUT, INSIDE AND OUT.
It’s not rocket science, but successful recycling requires a little bit of education. Many things we think are recyclable are not. And not all items that are recyclable are accepted in curbside pickup programs. Here are a few of the most common recycling mistakes and how to correct them. (We’re here to help!)
ITEMS THAT ARE NOT RECYCLABLE CURBSIDE. REALLY, THEY’RE NOT.
Pizza boxes with grease stains.
- But if the box top is clean, it’s green! Rip it off to recycle, and trash the bottom.
Hot to-go cups. Most are lined with plastic or wax and can’t be broken down.
- Stash a travel mug in your bag instead! We love Circular & Co’s Travel Mug made from recycled paper cups. And they’re 100% recyclable!
Dirty or wet plastic food containers.
- Clean and dry them first or they will contaminate items around them, rendering everything un-recyclable. Rude!
- Broken glass. It poses a danger to recycling facility workers and is also a contaminate.
- Used or wet paper towels, napkins or tissues. No offense, but no one wants these.
- Shredded or brightly colored paper. Who knew?
Shopping receipts. Because they contain more than one material, and harmful chemicals.
- Have receipts emailed to you whenever possible.
Plastic straws & stirrers.
- Just #skipthestraw!
- Compostable/degradable plastic bags and films. If you don’t compost, put them in the trash.
- Soft plastic packaging like candy wrappers & chip bags.
- Frozen food bags and pre-washed salad mix bags.
- Cellophane and cling wrap.
ITEMS THAT ARE NOT RECYCLABLE CURBSIDE, BUT STILL HAVE #RECYCLINGGOALS!
Wire hangers, like those from the dry-cleaner.
- Return these to the dry cleaner. They’ll reuse them (and may give you a discount too!)
Plastic films and bags, like snack baggies, plastic shopping, produce and bread bags, dry cleaning bags, bath tissue and diapers package wrap, cereal and cracker insert bags (if they don’t tear like paper), bubble wrap and shipping pillows (deflate first).
- These can be dropped off at many retailers in designated recycling bins. Find one near you here.
- Screw-on caps
- These are screwy. Check with your local recycling center. Some won’t accept them, some will, but may specify whether they need to be on or off the bottle.
- Packing peanuts.
- REUSE them OR ask your local shipping stores if they can.
- Check your municipal recycling resources for centers that will accept them.
- Offer them to local schools/community centers to reuse in art projects.
Still have questions? Check our local resources guide here to learn more about recycling in your community.