Local communities recycle in different ways that I was unaware of. I recently learned that Gainesville is unable to recycle Starbucks cups due to the expense it takes to process their material. Of course, other cities and counties face the same issues, but not necessarily with Starbucks cups.
It is important that we play our part in making this process as efficient as possible. There are some general rules for recycling that include:
- No food, no liquids, no straws, no plastic cups, and no plastic dishware.
- Compost all food and food-soiled paper when possible. Paper is important in absorbing oils and greases which in turn restore the nitrogen balance.
- Never put plastic bags or plastic wrap in a recycling bin.
- Avoid single-use items as much as possible.
- Pizza boxes are contaminated by food and cannot be recycled.
- Empty and rinse out materials from bottles, jars, containers, and cans before placing them in the bin. There is no need to wash, but don’t put half a jar of spaghetti sauce in the recycling bin, just scrape it out.
- Some communities do not recycle glass anymore, so make sure to check with your local waste management before placing glass in the bins.
- Plastic bottles and jugs with the numbers 1 or 2 on the bottom can be recycled.
- Plastic caps can be recycled as long as they are not screwed on the bottle. Screwing the caps on can cause safety hazards for workers when the bottles are being compressed etc. They can also damage the gears of machines.
- Prescription bottles and sample size bottles generally cannot be recycled. Check with your local management to see if they are accepted.
- Recycle all clean paper and flattened cardboard boxes.
- Dishware, even if glass, cannot be recycled. Take it to Goodwill.
- Compostable plastics cannot be placed in recycling bins. They contaminate the recycling process.
- Batteries cannot be recycled.
- Electronics cannot be recycled. I suggest taking them to BestBuy where they can recycle them for you.
Following these tips will reduce landfill waste and increase the efficiency of the recycling process. If you have any specific questions that were not answered here, contact your local waste management to have your questions answered.