Most of us are familiar with the items from our daily lives that are almost always appropriate to put out for recycling, such as cans and newspapers. But when it comes to items from occasional chores and repairs, the rules for disposing of those “leftovers” isn’t always as easy to remember. Here are a few basic guidelines.
It might seem like anything that’s biodegradable can be sent to the landfill, where it can break down over the years, right? Well, not so fast. That green material has to be processed, which means that the debris you recycle needs to be soft enough and small enough for the machines to handle.
- Grass clippings
- Tree trimmings
- Shrub trimmings
- Short sections of tree trunks
All of the above can be ground and made available as mulch
- Root balls
- Fibrous debris from such botanicals as coral and palm trees, yucca plants and palms
- Succulents plants and prunings such as ice plant, cactus and jade
- Tree and large shrub trunks greater than 4 feet in length
- Processed wood
None of these materials can be properly ground and may clog the machinery.
When your project calls for breaking up foundations and sidewalks, you usually end up with chunks of concrete and other hardscapes. Some of that material is actually useful because it makes a useful base for roads when it is broken down. But a few related items are problematic.
- Rock, concrete and asphalt sections
- Hardscaping which is attached to, or entangled with, plant debris, treated wood and garbage
Home renovations and other projects almost inevitably lead to piles of lumber and construction supplies. Some of it can be recycled and can used for making mulch, or for processing into new building materials, as with chipboard lumber. But many construction materials contain the kinds of toxic materials or attachments that make them unsuitable for processing by the landfill.
- Untreated wood loads
If your lumber is free of toxic glue and hasn’t been painted, stained or varnished, it can be recycled. You may need to break it up or saw it into pieces, depending on the container in which you are putting it.
- Treated wood (varnished, stained and painted lumber)
- Composite wood products, such as fiberboard or plywood or fiberboard, which contain toxic glues
- Lumber pieces containing metal hardware, such as brackets and hinges. (A few stray nails here are there are usually fine.)
Still Not Sure?
There are always plenty of materials that don’t seem to be easy to categorize. If you’re not sure how to handle your disposable material, call us for a free estimate.