by Eric Cureton
Operations Manager

We all want to do our part in protecting the planet from unnecessary waste, but sometimes that good intent can lead us to putting things we shouldn’t in our recycling bins. According to Republic Services, here are 5 things that don’t belong in your standard curbside bins:

  1. Plastic Bags: Never bag up your bottles and cans, recycling facilities have trouble processing them, and usually throw them in the garbage pile. Keep plastic shopping bags out of the trash by returning them to the stores they came from.
  2. Toys: Though they are made from plastic, certain types and other materials used prevent them from being recyclable. The good news is that plenty of places will take and re-use donated toys.
  3. Clothing: Similar to toys, clothing should be reused but not recycled. Donate used clothing to charity or sell through consignment shops or apps. If they’re worn out, they can be used as household rags or thrown away with household trash.
  4. Disposable diapers: Clean or dirty, these should be disposed of in the trash.
  5. Yard Debris: If your locality accepts branches, leaves, and grass clippings, these should be in that dedicated waste container, not your recycling bin.

Those are just some of the items to keep out of the recycle stream. Here are 5 items everyone should recycle:

  1. Aluminum Cans: Did you know it takes 95% less energy to make new cans from recycled aluminum?
  2. PET Plastic Bottles: Bottles labeled with 1 on their resin identification code do not biodegrade, and it takes 2/3 less energy recycling than making new bottles from scratch.
  3. Newspapers: Unwanted newspapers, magazines, books, etc. are sent to incinerators and landfills. When you recycle these, it reduces the emission of harmful gases like methane into the environment.
  4. Corrugated Cardboard: Recycled carboard can be used to make new versions of the same products, and each ton of paper recycled saves more than 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space.
  5. Steel Cans: Did you know steel cans have been used to package food since the 14th century? The steel industry has been recycling them for 150 years, and It has one of the highest recycling rates at more than 88 percent! Most of these cans have a paper label. Thankfully you do not need to remove the label, but you should rinse any leftover food out.

The recycling industry is one that is ever expanding and changing for the better. We can turn plastic bottles into super soft clothing. I’ve asked Santa to bring me a sweater made from Sea Wool – a product made from oyster shells. These are some amazing examples of human ingenuity, but we need to make sure we practice the basics every day.

If you have any questions regarding recycling or other environmental concerns, please contact Eric Cureton, Operations Manager with EI, at (540) 343-5902 or [email protected].