Make sure you’re recycling and not “wish-cycling.”
“Wish-cycling,” said Deirdre Edgar, Republic Services spokesperson, is when people have good intentions and place items in the recycling bin with the hope they’re recyclable when they actually aren’t.
Numerous municipalities in the tri-county area employ Republic Services for trash and recycle pick up, including Fenton, Fenton Township and Linden. It’s important to know which items can actually be recycled.
“Our recycling facilities receive a lot of old clothing and shoes, stuffed animals, toys, tools — items that
could be reused if they’re donated, but not if they’re put in the recycling container,” Edgar said. “Other common items we receive, which we shouldn’t, are diapers, garden hoses and yard debris. And dangerous things to put in your recycling are electronics with lithium batteries, which can cause fires.”
Edgar also advises against putting items that are too small in the recycling bin because they can fall through the sorting equipment at the plant. Plastic bags will get tangled.
“An easy way to remember it is, don’t recycle anything smaller than a credit card. If you want to recycle the cap to your water bottle, leave it on the bottle. And plastics bags should never go in your curbside recycling container. To be recycled, plastic bags need to be returned to the collection bin at the grocery store for commercial processing,” she said.
People often put items in the trash bin when they could be recycled. This includes aluminum cans, cardboard and paper. Aluminum can be recycled over and over again, infinitely, Edgar said, and producing new cans from recycled aluminum uses 95 percent less energy than making cans from raw materials.
“Paper and cardboard also can be recycled multiple times — on average, 5-7 times. Recycling paper and aluminum saves energy and preserves valuable natural resources,” she said.
Items you can recycle:
With paper waste, you can put newspapers, envelopes, junk mail, phone books, brochures and magazines in the recycling bin. Acceptable aluminum and metal items include aluminum cans, food cans and scrap metal. Ream papers, file folders, poster board, cereal boxes, frozen food boxes, cardboard boxes and milk cartons can be recycled.
Pizza boxes can potentially be recycled.
The grease from a used pizza box prevents it from being recyclable. It can be disposed of with other solid waste. If your pizza box doesn’t have any grease on it, then you can place in your recycling bin, according to the Republic Services website.
With plastics, water bottles, soda containers and clean plastic containers can be put in the recycling bin, along with glass bottles.
Items you cannot recycle:
The list on republicservices.com for which items cannot be recycled includes aluminum foil, plastic bags, Styrofoam containers, tissue paper and wax coated cardboard.
A list of acceptable and unacceptable items can be downloaded from republicservices.com.