11 Things You Think Are Recyclable but They’re Not
Hold up—don’t toss those empty containers in the recycling bin just yet! While it’s great to recycle as much as possible, there are some items that don’t belong in that bin.
Some Takeout Containers
You just built a stacked recycling tower to save space and you want to use it, but hold off on filling it with pizza boxes and Chinese takeout containers. Leave grease-soaked boxes and other cardboard containers, or anything with leftover food particles out of your recycling bin as they can damage or contaminate other recyclable materials. Find out 15 more things that shouldn’t be tossed in the recycling bin.
Plastic Bottle Caps
You may be able to recycle the bottle, but the plastic bottle cap probably isn’t recyclable because they’re often made from a type of plastic that can’t be recycled. When it comes to recycling bottles, make sure they are crushed before sending them off to the recycling facility.
Some Paper Products
Paper products such as paper towels, tissues, and napkins are considered too contaminated to be recyclable. Instead of paper napkins, try using washable, cloth napkins for a more sustainable home. Some boxes, such as those used for frozen foods, also may not be recyclable since they have a coating that can’t be broken down properly in the recycling process.
Plastic Grocery Bags
Just because it’s made of plastic doesn’t mean it’s recyclable. Instead, use cloth grocery bags or try one of these reusable plastic-free food shopping and storage products.
Your local dry cleaner may take your old wire hangers, but many recycling facilities will not since they are not set up to deal with wire. Discover the most recyclable materials on the planet.
If your favorite coffee mug breaks, it likely belongs in the trash, not the recycling bin as many recyclers cannot accept them. If you have several broken mugs and dishes, contact your local recycling facility to see if they will accept them—some facilities may grind them up to be used in other ways. Check out these creative ways to reuse plastic food storage containers.
Some Types of Glass
While broken glass is recyclable, it shouldn’t be tossed in your recycling bin as it can injure workers. Instead, check with your local facility to see if they accept broken glass. Glass items such as Pyrex baking dishes, light bulbs, mirrors, and eyeglasses are also among the glass items that should not be recycled.
Styrofoam cannot be recycled and it does not biodegrade. Try limiting your use of Styrofoam coffee cups, food containers and packing peanuts. This is the biggest mistake people make when recycling.
While paper is often recyclable, shredded paper can be a problem for recycling facilities since it is difficult to sort. Instead, use leftover paper as mulch, for packing or make these creative Christmas card crafts.
Some Drink Cartons
Before you toss the orange juice box into your recycling bin, make sure it has the recycling symbol on it. The plastic coating on many of these containers makes them unsuitable for recycling. On the flip side, here are some items you might not know you could compost.
Paper that is heavily dyed is often heat-treated which may contaminate it and make it unrecyclable. Here’s what really happens to recycled plastic.