With an increasing number of consumers choosing to ship items amid the Covid-19 pandemic, packaging is increasing and leading to an increase in our landfills. Every time you choose to recycle, you are giving that item a second life. Whether you are at home or work, we’ve come up with the top ways that you can ensure your items including packaging get properly recycled:
Recycling Varies by Location
Inform yourself with a list of what is acceptable with your local recycling program by conducting a simple web search of your city + recycling. These programs outline what is acceptable verses what isn’t.
Curbside & Beyond the Bin
Most curbside recycling programs will accept materials including broken down and flattened corrugated fiberboard, clam shells, paper, hard plastics, aluminum, and paper or air cushions. Typically, no bubble wrap (depending on the material it is made of), shopping or dry cleaning bags. Glass is becoming particularly more challenging to recycle so always verify if it accepted. Beyond your curbside bin, your local recycling program will also tell you where you can recycle items they don’t accept such as batteries or electronics. Note: Big box home improvement stores are usually a good option for recycling batteries and lightbulbs.
Clean & Dry
Containers should always be free of food and liquid waste. Recyclables need to be relatively clean so when all of those products are turned back into raw materials, the businesses who buy them will be buying a quality product. If an organics collection is not provided in your program, check to see if your local municipality may offer support for backyard composting.
Choose to Recycle Right
Wishcycling, also known as aspirational recycling, is wishing a product could be recycled and recycling it before verifying if your recycling program can recycle said product. Unaccepted materials, or accepted materials with food and liquid, can damage machinery and be dangerous for workers. Learning which items can and can't be recycled can help put an end to wishcycling.
Research Company Recycling Policies
Some companies will reward you with trade-in values or discounts for recycling products through their programs including Apple. The EPA has a list of where you can donate or recycle electrics. There are also some great take back programs including Nespresso’s coffee pods recycling program.
Recycling creates jobs, reduces greenhouse gases, and returns materials to manufacturers which lowers the need for new materials. What you do adds up. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.