Not long ago, the city where I live made the life of this Domestic Square Peg just a little bit easier— they combined recycling. Hallelujah! No more sorting stinky old boxes, cans and bottles into separate bins.
I grew up in a family where my dad recycled with the same zest DSP Dixie drinks a dry martini, so I thought I knew everything I needed to know about recycling from tearing off labels to the tiny numbers on the bottom of plastic bottle (by the way, there are seven numbers and plastic numbers 1 & 2 are most often the only types of plastic that can be recycled curbside).
Theeeen….. I ran into a gal who represents my city’s recycling and found I’m not as recycle-savvy as I thought.
“Times and machines have changed” she lectured— err, said. ”…and with those changes comes new rules for recycling.”
- Shredded paper IS recyclable, but NOT desirable. Surprised me too, but shortened paper fibers lowers the grade of paper from high grade to mixed grade. Mixed grade paper is still recyclable, but you may have a harder time finding a recycler who will take it. My recycler happens to take it, but it must be placed into a brown paper grocery bag.
- Paper or cardboard with ANY kind of wax coating is NOT recyclable. These are the types of boxes you will find in the freezer and fridge. This also includes paper bags lined with plastic that contain pet food, cat litter & coffee. Paper cups, bubble wrap, plastic envelopes and of course just plain ‘ole wax paper.
- EXCEPTION: Cardboard milk and juice containers. This came as a surprise to me. Even though milk cartons and “aseptics” are not 100% paper, there are specific markets for these materials. Aseptic boxes are a combination of plastic, metal and paper and milk and juice cartons (also known as “gable-top” containers) contain a moisture barrier, but since there are solid markets for these materials they can be included in curbside recycling programs.
- Empty & rinse– but DON’T FLATTEN recycling. Flattening boxes, cans and bottles make it tough for the machines to sort them. Who knew? My dad built some pretty big biceps from a lifetime of flattening boxes and cans. Read more »
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