Environment

Recycling Confusion? Refresh Your Understanding of the Basics

Crystal earth recycle icon
Crystal earth recycle icon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It can be difficult to know what items you can and can’t recycle. Can you or can’t you recycle glossy paper? Are tin cans able to go into the recycling bin? Which plastics are recyclable? What should you nevethrow in the trash? TerraCycle has listed some basics in the article: Recycling Basics From TerraCycle: Items You Can and Can’t Recycle.

One of the items on the list is expired medications. You should know by now that you should NEVER throw these in the trash or flush them down the drain to prevent them from ending up in an er or vet visit and to keep them out of our water supply.

Number 7 plastics are rarely recyclable, and you’ll want to check with your local recycling company to see whether 1,2,3,4,5,6 are acceptable. Some places will want you to separate them, other places won’t take 3, 4, and 6 through curbside pickup.

You’ll be surprised, too, to learn that TerraCycle accepts many items that are not normally recyclable when it comes to curbside pickup. Many of their recycling programs include free shipping, and you send them your items from used writing utensils to baby food pouches to used sneakers. It’s definitely worth looking into their program to help reduce landfill waste. You never know – your used mechanical pencils may become part of a giant storage tub!

Whatever you do, research your regularly used items that become trash. Study your local waste management’s recycling guidelines to learn what they will and will not accept. Use local resources like FreeCycle and Craigslist to pass on items to others that still have use in them. Check out TerraCycle to see whether they now have a campaign for the items you’re decluttering.

Be sure to review the rest of the list in the orginal article. Can you recycle batteries and light bulbs? Can you recycle single-use coffee capsules? It’s worth it to do the research and know whether and how you can recycle the discards in your life.

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