You care about the future of the planet. That is why you do everything possible to protect the environment. You turn off your lights and faucets to save electricity and water; you buy local products to lower your carbon footprint, and of course, you recycle. But did you know what you are tossing in your recycling bin may be harmful?
Three Things You Shouldn’t Recycle
Used cardboard food containers. Stop! Don’t throw that sauce and grease soaked pizza box in the recycling bin. Put it in the garbage where it can’t do any more damage.
Pizza boxes and take away containers made from corrugated cardboard are not recyclable. In fact, if you mix food-stained cardboard boxes with other paper recyclables, the recycling center may have to throw away the entire batch of paper products. All that grease and oil prevents paper pulp from sticking together to form recycled paper.
The next time you order out, do something good for the environment and ask for plastic to-go containers (which are recyclable,) or at least skip trying to recycle the greasy paper ones.
Paper cups for hot beverages. You can’t live without your morning coffee from your favorite cafe. But when you take the last sip of your jolt of caffeine, where are you going to throw the cup? Not into the recycling bin!
Hot beverage cups use a special sealant which keeps hot liquids from seeping through a cup’s seams and ruining your day. This sealant is normally not allowed at most recycling plants and will end up in the local landfill.
So, when you stumble blurry-eyed into the local coffeehouse, bring your own travel mug or retro Thermos. The barista will appreciate your thoughtfulness.
Keep a close eye on your plastics. HDPE, PETE, PP, plastics numbered 1 to 7, plastic film and plastic bags. Whew! There is a whole lot of different plastics out there, and not all of them are recyclable.
To make matters worse, a particular plastic may be recyclable at one municipal’s recycling center but banned at the center in the next town. Even if you find the recycling triangle on a piece of plastic, that is no guarantee your local center can recycle it. The only way to know which types of plastics are allowed at your town’s recycling center is to call your City Hall and ask.
As a general rule, plastic bags, film and bottle caps are not recyclable, while any plastic with a recycling triangle which has a 1 or 2 inside is safe to place in the recycling bin. But you are the kind of person who cares enough to call your City Hall to find out for certain which types of plastic your town recycles, right?