DON’T BE FOOLED: 5 ITEMS YOU THINK ARE RECYCLABLE BUT AREN’T
Even though some products may seem recyclable, don’t be fooled by their green appearance. Co-mingling recyclable items with those that belong in the trash can actually cause more harm than good. So, think twice before tossing something in your RE.BIN!
Don't let these non-recyclable items fool you:
Just because it’s plastic, doesn’t mean it’s recyclable. Saran wrap can’t be recycled for many reasons. Its flimsy nature can jam the machinery used to recycle plastic, costing time and money. Wet or dirty saran wrap, used to cover or wrap food, can contaminate the recycling process. There's a reason saran wrap works wonders - it’s chemically treated to create that perfect stretch, making it too complex to recycle.
Despite what you think, styrofoam doesn't belong in your RE.BIN. While styrofoam may help deliver your online purchases in one piece, it has a bad reputation because it’s extremely harmful to our planet and can remain in landfills for up to 500 years. Although styrofoam can technically be recycled, it’s not accepted by curbside recycling programs because the costs associated with the recycling process are too high to offset the value of the recycled materials.
TIP: Save your packing materials for your next online return.
All glass is not created equal. Although Pyrex is made of glass, it can’t be recycled because it’s been chemically treated to withstand high temperatures, which changes the composition of the glass. Glass must be sorted by type and color before it can be recycled because each type of glass melts at its own specific temperature. Anything mixed in the batch that does not belong can cause serious production problems, and even defective glass. Luckily, Pyrex is a durable kitchen classic that you should never have to throw away in your lifetime.
One of the first things you probably learned about recycling is that all paper is recyclable. We hate to break it to you, but that’s not true! Paper towels can’t be recycled because they're made of thin fibers, that makes repurposing them during the recycling process extremely difficult. Most paper towels are made from recycled products and are literally at their wits end. Also, because paper towels are used to clean up spills or messes, the food waste, grease or dirt contaminates the paper which makes it almost impossible to separate during the pulping process.
TIP: Recycle the cardboard inside the roll. Compost used paper towels or ask your local waste management company if you can toss them out with the yard waste!
Just because you can recycle your diet coke can doesn’t mean all aluminum products are accepted by your curbside recycling program. Aluminum foil is not recyclable because it’s usually tainted with food or grease that can contaminate the aluminum recycling stream. The same goes for aluminum pie plates and aluminum trays that generally have your leftover pie crust or lasagna in the corners.
TIP: Aluminum foil is dishwasher safe so after a quick rinse you can reuse your aluminum foil, while saving a little money and the earth at the same time.
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*DISCLAIMER: every city has different recycling guidelines and items accepted in curbside programs vary from city to city. Always check your local municipality recycling guidelines to see what items are accepted in your curbside recycling program.
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