Guest post by Junk King
One of the best and easiest ways to reduce our carbon footprints on an individual basis is to smartly recycle. Americans create almost 254 million tons of waste annually, according to figures from the EPA. But what if all of those materials were properly disposed of or recycled? It could stop as much as $7 billion in resources from ending up in landfills.
While the vast majority of people do put out their recycling bins for pickup every week, is that really all we can do? The good news is that there are always steps we can take that will improve the recycling process. First, it’s important to stop making simple mistakes.
Here’s a list of nine common recycling mistakes. Check it out to make sure you haven’t been making any of them!
1. Should bottle caps be recycled? Yes! Some people are under the impression that because bottle cap plastic is different from the plastic used in actual bottles, it can’t be recycled. Fortunately, that’s not the case anymore. According to “Do Something,” Americans trash almost 25 million plastic bottles per hour without their caps. Make sure your bottles and caps are recycled together, where applicable.
2. Dirty cardboard and paper do not belong in your recycling bin. Of the 69 million tons of paper recycled annually, it only takes a single greasy pizza box to destroy a large batch of potentially recyclable material. Next time you order out, think twice about where you’re putting your garbage.
3. Magazines might look like they can’t be recycled, but the opposite is true. Though they have shiny finishes, magazines should be recycled just like your newspapers are. Unfortunately, only 20% of magazines are currently recycled!
4. Don’t forget to sort your recyclables before you put them out to the curb. Products like paper and cardboard should be separated from glass or metal.
5. Keep your grocery bags! Almost 100 billion plastic bags are thrown away every year when they could be recycled. Better yet, stop using plastic bags altogether.
6. Not recycling? There’s no excuse for that. Over 87% of Americans have access to a curbside or drop-off recycling program, which makes taking your recycling out an easy task.
7. Different areas have different recycling guidelines, and it’s your responsibility to know them. There are near infinite resources out there thanks to the Internet, and your municipality’s recycling guidelines should be easily accessible online. Don’t forget to do your recycling homework!
8. Shredded paper shouldn’t necessarily be recycled. Even though paper has a 60% recycling rate in the U.S., the vast majority of facilities won’t accept it in shredded form.
9. Paperboard is not cardboard! Any food boxes designed specifically for the freezer have a plastic or polymer coating, which renders them non-recyclable.
Whether you’re the head of your household or you’re just trying to help out, make sure you’re aware of these common recycling mistakes so you don’t make them ever again! Now that you have more information, it should be easy to get all of those recyclables to the curb correctly.
This guest post was contributed by Junk King