What Goes in the Bin: Tips for Recycling Smarter

What Goes in the Bin: Tips for Recycling Smarter

National Waste & Recycling Association offers a recycling overview

Multimedia from this Release

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A dedicated waste and recycling professional oversees sorting at a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF).


National Waste & Recycling Association president and CEO Sharon H. Kneiss and Anne Germain, director of waste and recycling technology, discuss the best practices for recycling smarter.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014 - 8:35am

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Helpful Tips on How to Recycle Smarter

There’s good news!  More Americans are recycling our trash to give it another life as new products. With the convenience of curbside pickup, and the efficiency of single-stream sorting, recycling is easier today than ever before. In fact, more than 35 percent of America’s waste is recycled into new products.

As recycling has become more common, more and more items can be accepted at the local recycling center. Still, there are a few important recycling “Dos and Don’ts” you should keep in mind:

  • The cleaner an item when it’s tossed in the recycling bin, the more value it will have as a recycled material. But you don’t want to waste a whole lot of water getting them squeaky clean. Give a quick rinse to your soda bottles, yogurt cups and other food and beverage containers.
  • Cardboard and paper products should be free of grease or smudges.  When it comes to that takeout pizza box, toss the greasy bottom in the trash—or compost it and recycle the clean top.
  • The numbers found on plastic items are identification codes for the type of plastic used to make them—but they don’t tell you whether a plastic can be recycled. Ask your waste company or authority what kinds of plastics they will accept for recycling.
  • When you recycle used plastic bottles, you can leave the caps on! They can be recycled and repurposed into materials used to make carpet, jackets and other usable items. Just be sure to clean the item as thoroughly as possible before recycling.
  • You can recycle your plastic shopping bags—but do not throw them in your curbside bin. Plastic bags jam up the sensitive sorting machinery at the recycling facility. Take your grocery bags back to the store to recycle them.
  • Non-rigid plastics like garden hoses and plastic sheets are usually not recyclable, and also can damage sorting equipment.

“Recycling rules and regulations vary from town to town, so if you’re unsure if something is recyclable, call your waste company or your local town waste authority,” said Sharon H. Kneiss, president and CEO of the National Waste & Recycling Association. “And if you don’t have curbside recycling pickup, ask for it!  Let’s all do our part to reduce, reuse and recycle.”

To learn more consumer tips for recycling smarter, visit www.beginwiththebin.org

CATEGORY: Education