Recycling has become a very big part of our daily lives. However, studies show that most people don’t know that there are many household items that cannot be recycled. Understanding what items can and cannot be recycled helps us to make better purchasing choices in the future, and can help us to understand the benefits of re-purposing and re-using such items to keep them out of our landfills.
#1 – Styrofoam: Avoid using Styrofoam products whenever possible including cups, disposable plates and packing materials. These items are notoriously bad for the landfills and for our environment.
#2 – Plastic Hangers: A blend of different plastic types are used to create plastic hangers, making them difficult to break down in the recycling process.
#3 – Plastic Film: Grocery bags and bubble wrap, plastic film is recyclable just not at our facility. Special equipment is needed to help sort this material.
#4 – Mirrors: Most people aren’t aware that mirrors contain chemicals that cannot be mixed with regular glass during recycling.
#5 – Food-Contaminated Containers: This includes pizza boxes, carry-out food containers – anything that has come in contact with food. The grease and oil that are found in these foods can contaminate the entire recycling process. If it cant be rinsed out, its trash.
#6 – Shower Curtains and Curtain Liners: Because shower curtains are made using a PVC-base product, shower curtains cannot be broken down and used again in the recycling process.
#7 – Ceramic: When ceramics are recycled with glass they produce an unsellable, unusable product. Ceramic products don’t melt down like other similar materials.
#8 – Disposable Diaper: Used disposable diaper, and pretty much any material that comes in contact with a biological fluid* is not recyclable. Pet soiled materials are also not acceptable.
Additionally, hazardous materials such as pesticides, light bulbs, batteries*, and paint cans cannot be recycled. Also plastic containers that previously held a hazardous chemical cannot be recycled with us. When you purchase new items it is important to think about what you will do with them when you no longer need them. Can the item be recycled? Will it sit in a landfill for hundreds of years? Can you donate the item to someone else who can use it? It is important to always purchase recyclable, eco-friendly items whenever possible.