11 things you should not be recycling

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Recycling is a good thing, right? If you’re anything like me, you probably have a big grin on your face every time you take a trip to the recycling bin in your kitchen, knowing you’ve done a good thing for the environment… or maybe that’s just me!

However, it seems that a lot of us are recycling things that we really shouldn’t – such as pizza boxes and receipts (guilty as charged on the last one!)

Thankfully, the nice people at wildminimalist.com have come up with a list of 11 things you definitely should not put in the grey bag:

1. Plastic Bags: The problem with soft plastic bags is that they can clog machines and slow down operations while workers remove the bags by hand. Bring your own reusable tote with you when you’re out shopping to eliminate the need for a plastic bag.

2. Pizza Boxes: If it’s got food stains or grease on it, it doesn’t belong in recycling. Lucky for pizza lovers, cardboard boxes can be composted as can other food-soiled paper, so long as they’re not lined with plastic. A good example is take-out boxes — check the bottom of the box to see if it is labeled as compostable. Napkins and paper towels should always go in the compost.

3. Gift Wrap: Shiny, metallic wrapping paper and decorative ribbons do not belong in recycling. Glittery cards are also non-recyclable and can contaminate an entire bin of paper. When wrapping a gift, opt for an unlaminated paper like newspaper, paper bags or butcher paper. A good way to test if your gift paper is recyclable is to crumple it into a ball—if it stays bunched up, it’s most likely recyclable. If not, re-use it or throw it away.

4. Small metal bits: While bits of metal like soda can tabs and aluminum candy wrappers are technically recyclable, their small size makes them hard to detect and they often jam recycling machinery. To avoid this issue, keep tabs attached to the can or drop them inside the can when you’re done.

5. Receipts: While the thermal cash register receipts you receive from a grocery store or boutique are made from paper, they also contain Bisphenol A, aka BPA. When you recycle receipts, the BPA that they contain gets processed with other paper pulp and contaminates the recycled paper products that are being produced.

6. Food Residue: Cleaning out food and beverage containers before you recycle them is just as important as placing them in the right bin. Food residue and liquids left in take out containers, peanut butter jars and even wine bottles can contaminate an entire truckload of recyclables. Containers don’t have to be perfectly clean, but they should be rinsed and washed with soap if they’re greasy.

7. Broken Crockery: Unfortunately, broken plates, ceramics, porcelain, mirrors, light bulbs, cups, wine glasses and pyrex have different melting points and chemical compositions compared to recyclable glass and belong in the trash.

8. Diapers: Yuck, and no! Hopefully, it’s no surprise that dirty diapers and sanitary products have no place in the recycling bin. Whether they are clean or dirty, they go in the trash.

9. Shredded Paper: Shredded documents and small bits of paper are too small to be valuable to recyclers and fall through the cracks or can even clog equipment. The good news is shredded paper can be composted! If composting isn’t an option, you can collect shreds in a paper bag, staple it closed and place it into recycling.

10. Coffee Cups: Most to-go coffee cups are lined with a plastic film that makes them liquid proof, and difficult to recycle. The paper heat sleeve that goes around the cup to protect your hand is really the only part of a to-go coffee cup that is likely recyclable or compostable. Better yet, say no to disposable cups and bring your own reusable coffee cup with you when you’re on the go.

11. Paperboard Boxes: Freezer food boxes and ice cream cartons contain a plastic polymer to prevent freezer burn. Unfortunately, this plastic coating prevents the box or carton from breaking down in the recycling process.

You may check out the full article here.