How to Know What to Recycle

Waste removal companies

Recycling services are taking the United States by storm, with a growing number of individuals, communities and waste management companies taking note of the ways this simple task can help their environment. Unfortunately, a dearth of recycling information has left many people unsure of how to proceed with this important task. For example, many people are often confused about what to recycle. While this question often depends on your local recycle centers and waste management services, there are a number of things that can–and should–always be recycled. Read on to learn what to recycle around your home!

The Basics
Today, almost every community’s waste removal companies will recycle a number of basic items. Leave the following in curbside bins, or make a trip to a nearby recycle center:

  • Aluminum Cans–These usually contain soda or alcohol
  • strong>Steel Cans–These usually contain soup, canned vegetables or even coffee. Just make sure to remove and dispose of the lids
  • Newspapers
  • Magazines and Slick Inserts–This usually refers to magazines, catalogs and printed advertisements.

Typically, But Not Always Accepted
The difficulty of explaining what to recycle often stems from the fact that many communities have different systems; items that can be recycled in some areas often cannot be accepted in others. For this reason, set aside the following objects, but prepare to do some research on your community’s recycling system before you waste a trip to the recycle center:

  • Corrugated Cardboard–Shipping and packaging boxes are usually accepted, but pizza boxes often aren’t.
  • Paper and Paperboard–This includes office paper, notebook paper, cereal boxes, non-Styrofoam egg cartons and some pre-packaged food boxes. However, some paper items, such as paper milk cartons and drink boxes, are lined with wax or plastic and are often not accepted.
  • Plastics–Think milk jugs, shampoo bottles, detergent bottles, vitamin bottles, plastic soda and water containers. Most centers accept plastics labeled with the PETE 1 and HDPE 2 symbols, and many more accept plastics labeled 1-7. If you can’t identify the type of plastic, don’t include it. You will also usually need to remove the cap, which is made from a different type of plastic.
  • Glass–This includes beer bottles, wine bottles, pickle jars, jelly jars and other items. However, some centers will only accept certain “colors” of glass, and light bulbs, Pyrex, ceramics, and mirrors are never accepted. Additionally, glass is becoming less accepted in some areas because of the danger broken glass can pose to workers.

For more information on how to recycle, contact one of your area’s recycle centers or waste management services.

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