5 Ways To Improve Your Recycling Game Beyond Earth Day

Photo Courtesy of Recycling Simplified

Happy Earth Day, mi gente!

Today is the perfect day to discuss the importance of recycling and how we can all care for our planet more.

Just because you're sorting out item and putting them in the recycle bin, doesn't mean those items did not end up in a landfill somewhere.

The good news is, you can make easy changes starting today that will help your recyclables end up where it belongs.

Here Are 5 Ways You’re Recycling Wrong & How to Improve in Honor of Earth Day:

1. Recycling your pizza box

Can a pizza box be recycled? It depends. Chances are, the bottom of the box is greasy, making it too contaminated to be recycled. The solution? Rip or cut the box apart. If the top of the pizza box is clean and dry, it’s recyclable. The bottom of the box with the pizza grease and leftover food can go right in the trash.

2. Confusing decluttering with recycling

If your recent decision to choose joy in your home has led to bags of perfectly wearable things, drop them off in a dedicated reuse collection bin often found in malls or school parking lots, or take it to your local Goodwill. Recycling companies don’t have the resources to direct non-recyclables like clothes, toys or books to the proper venue. Not sure whether an item is recyclable or should be donated? Visit recyclingsimplified.com to find out, or visit Earth911 to learn where you can donate usable items in your area.

3. Forgetting “empty, clean and dry”

Unfortunately, many perfectly good recyclables like cardboard can be ruined when they come into contact with other items that are wet or dirty. Just one bottle of ketchup with residue can contaminate an entire truckload of items that could otherwise be recycled! An easy way ensure your recyclables don’t end up in a landfill:

Empty the contents (food or liquid) of the container

Clean with a quick rinse using only a little bit of water so the item is free of food or other residue

Dry up any remaining liquid

4. Plastic over paper

Contrary to popular belief, plastic grocery bags or thin plastic film are not recyclable items. Instead, reuse plastic grocery bags and when ready to discard them, place in the trash or return to your local grocery store. Even better, purchase reusable grocery bags. Finally, don’t bag your recyclables up. If you collect them in a bag, dump the bag’s contents into the recycling container loosely.

5. Recycling lawn waste

Now that spring is here, yard trimmings may be piling up in your backyard. Yard waste (flowers, green clippings and soil) and Christmas trees do not belong in the recycle container. Composting options for tree trimmings and other yard waste are offered in every community, but not via your recycling container.

Bottom line - when in doubt, throw it out!

Become familiar with these easy-to-reference Recycling Simplified printable resources and videos and you’ll be on a good start to changing your bad recycling habits.