Recycling is good, right?

Yes, recycling is good! But it's also important that we are recycling the right way.

It might seem (and should be) as simple as "anything that has a recycling symbol on it is recyclable/can go in the recycling bin" - but unfortunately it's a bit more complicated. Depending on where you live, your recycling rules and capabilities might be different. Some areas can not or do not accept certain types of recyclables in domestic bins - and this could change even between counties within the same city or even between different waste management companies. It's very important to understand your county and waste management company recycling regulations and restrictions - that way a whole bin of recyclables does not end up going to the landfill anyways for being "contaminated" with something that is deemed non-recyclable.

Another thing that complicates "anything that has a recycling symbol on it is recyclable/can go in the recycling bin" - is soft plastics. The easiest way to describe a soft plastic, is anything that has the feel of a grocery, food storage, or garbage bag. These plastics are recyclable, however they can not be added to your domestic recycling bin. Soft plastics have to be recycled separately, and not all places/areas have the capability of recycling them since soft plastics will ruin the machinery if it's not specifically designed for soft plastics. Due to this, you should not be putting your recyclables in a garbage bag and then putting them in the larger recycling bin - if you do, all of those recyclables (including the garbage bag) will be headed to the landfill.

The last thing that complicates the recycling process is wishful recycling. Wishful recycling is the practice of hoping or wanting something to be recyclable, but it really is not, and tossing it in the bin anyways. Can you recycle a pizza box? Only the parts of it that do not have pizza grease on it - the rest of it needs to be thrown away. Can you recycle a water bottle? Only if it's empty. Can you recycle a to-go coffee cup? Only the lid - the cup itself is sometimes has insulation or has a plastic lining, both which are not recyclable. Wishful recycling can lead to lots of perfectly good recyclable items ending up in a landfill - so my advice is if you're not positive the item in question can be recycled, take it home, look it up, and find out the proper way to dispose of that item. Sometimes there is an item that can be recycled, but you might have to do a little extra work and bring it to a specific store nearby that has the ability to recycle "odd" items.

Yes, recycling is good, but only if it's done correctly - so take some time to learn more about the recycling options, rules, and regulations near you!

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