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Curb-Side Recycling…Are You Doing it Right?

 Big Green Head
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Not only is recycling easy, but it makes me feel good. With my recycle bin conveniently placed right outside my kitchen door, I use my best underhanded toss to recycle my cans and bottles without ever stepping foot outside (unless I miss of course). Recycling paper is a different matter as I don’t want it to get wet. A simple paper grocery sack under my counter is perfect for junk mail, newspapers and cereal boxes. Each week when I haul it all to the curb for pickup, I know that I have done my part….or at least I believe I have. It’s important to fill your curbside bin with only materials the recycler wants. In order for them to sell the recycled materials to manufacturers, they need a clean, uncompromised batch. Improper recycling, which produces contaminated batches, nullifies the recycling efforts of not just one household, but many. In other words, if your bin is full of stuff that doesn’t belong, they might just chuck it in the landfill.

Here is a list of 10 common recycling mistakes made at the curb. This list pertains to the Rumpke customers in Franklin County. If your community uses a different recycler, check their website for details.

1. Plastic tubs – yogurt, sour cream, cottage cheese, Cool whip, to-go containers etc. Rumpke only wants your plastic if it’s a bottle. (#5 plastic tubs can be recycled at Whole Foods Market)

2. Plastic cups & plates – just because it has a recycling symbol doesn’t mean the recycler takes it. Remember, only plastic bottles including; detergent, shampoo, milk etc.

3. Caps – Remove caps and lids from bottles and jars. DO NOT throw them in the bin.

4. Plastic bags – Plastic bags wrap themselves around the sorting equipment, and as a result, may shut down the whole facility. Recycle plastic bags at the grocery store.

5. Greasy pizza boxes – Grease contaminates the potentially recyclable cardboard because it cannot be removed from the paper fibers. Tear off the greasy part of the box and recycle the rest.

6. Motor oil and hazardous chemical bottles – residue remaining inside these containers presents a risk to handlers and contaminates other plastic recycling, collection trucks and processing facilities.

7. Napkins, paper towels, tissues etc. -. These are made up of fibers that are too short to be reused.

8. Dishes, drinking glasses, mirrors, window glass, utensils, cookware (glass, metal, ceramic, or disposable plastic) – Not for the curbside bin.

9. Styrofoam – egg cartons, meat trays, to-go containers, cups…any Styrofoam that’s been in contact with food. Sorry to say, these go in the garbage.

10. Coated food boxes – milk and juice cartons, frozen food packaging, juice boxes, paper coffee cups. These boxes are specially coated which make it difficult to recycle them.

And remember, to close the recycling loop, buy recycled products when you can.

BigGreenHead.com is a website educating people on easy ways to go green. Come to Green on the Green-a Big Green Fest! May 21, 2011 from 9am-2pm in Worthington.

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