It seems to be unanimous. Americans don’t know how to recycle! It is found that many people aren’t provided with enough information regarding recycling or don’t understand what can and can’t be recycled, causing them to recycle incorrectly. Resulting in what’s called “wish-cycling”.
The term “wish-cycling” is the practice of tossing questionable items in the recycling bin, hoping they can somehow be recycled. This practice has led to the contamination of recyclables and a crisis in the market. WHEN IN DOUBT THROW IT OUT. As much as we might want everything to be recyclable, many things are not. Non-recyclable items can contaminate a whole load of recyclables, causing them to all be thrown out.
Between all of the multicolored bins, labeling, methods of disposal, disposal facilities, slight differences in materials, etc., recycling can seem very intimidating. Recycling procedures do vary from city to city and state to state, and each jurisdiction will have its own set of standards for what can be recycled. Whether you are in an area suited for multi-stream recycling – where different types of materials are to be collected in separate bins, or single-stream recycling – where it is acceptable for different types of materials to be put together in the same bin, here is a list of mainstream items which can be recycled:
- Cardboard (without oils or grease)
- Paper (non-soiled. Preferably not shredded, but shredded paper is still accepted)
- Food boxes (without oils, grease, or leftover food)
- Mail (preferably not shredded, but shredded paper is still accepted)
- Beverage cans
- Food cans (minus the food, lol)
- Glass bottles
- Jars (glass and plastic)
- Plastic bottles and caps
Below is a image representing the recyclable plastics
In addition to recycling, there are other ways to live an environmentally-friendly lifestyle. Next time you go shopping, check that the products you are purchasing and their packaging are made from materials that can be recycled. By filtering out products you cannot recycle, you end up with less landfill-bound trash. By making small adjustments such as using only reusable products that you won’t have to throw away (such as tupperware, refillable water bottles, reusable packaging, paper or stainless steel straws), and you can also cut down on your overall waste output.
The most effective way to reduce waste, and the most environmentally preferred strategy, is to not create it in the first place!