Recycling: When In Doubt Throw It Out

by Cindy Pantea

Our friends at ReWorks have updated us on the preferred methods in curbside recycling:

Milk, juice, broth, soup and other food and beverage cartons like those shown below are recyclable, but not their screwtop lids. The small lids from these containers cause problems for the recycling companies.

recyclable cartons

This is a sample of all the types of cartons which are recyclable. Throw away the lids in the trash.

Rigid plastics, such as detergent bottles, food containers (like those that contained whipped cream or sour cream) are recyclable after a quick rinse, but not the lids. Again, the lids, either due to size or material consistency can cause problems for the recycling companies.

plastics recycle

This is a sample of the types of plastic bottles that are recyclable. Plastic food containers are recyclable too, just remember to rinse. Throw away the lids before recycling.

Glass bottles and jars are recyclable after a quick rinse, and it is not necessary to remove labels. The lids, however, are not recyclable due to size or material consistency.

glass bottles and jars are recyclable

Here is a picture of glass jars and bottles ready for recycling. Notice there are no lids. (Labels left on bottles are okay.)

Aluminum and other metal cans are, of course, recyclable after a quick rinse, but if you remove the lids or pull tabs completely from the cans, it is best to throw them away. The lids can be too small or can be made of materials that are not attracted by the magnet that the recycling company uses to gather them for the recycling process. It is not necessary to remove labels. Take special care to avoid exposing sharp edges so that you as well as the recycler do not become injured.

metal cans are recyclable

Note: Aerosol cans and, as of December 2013, aluminum foil are not good for recycling due to possible food residue.

break down cardboard for recyclingPaper and cardboard are recyclable. This means includes envelopes and phone books. The only thing that is asked is that the cardboard be broken down flat (as shown in the picture to the left). Do not tie or bundle paper and cardboard.

recycle paper and cardboard

While everything pictured above is recylable, the following list tells us what is not recyclable:

NO used oil or oil containers. This means pizza boxes, too. Food contamination is one of the big problems for recycling companies.

NO egg cartons of any type because they contain styrofoam. Unless you purchase eggs in a plastic container, do not put in the recycling bin

NO electronics (including cell phones and appliances)

NO batteries or light bulbs (of any type).

NO hazardous wastes (paint pesticides or cleaners).

NO widow panes, mirrors or ceramics.

NO medical waste. Use the D.U.M.P. program.

NO auto parts, hardware tools or garden hoses.

NO hangers.

NO metal items, railroad ties/spikes, or chains

NO yard waste or food waste.

NO trash.

NO clothing, shoes, or toys.

If you have a question regarding recycling, contact ReWorks, or use this philosophy: When in doubt, throw it out.