For the Easiest, Best Practice: Keep Recycling Simple
Many people try to recycle everything. They think, if it's not actually recyclable, they'll just pull it out at the sorting facility. That's wishful thinking that won't help anyone. At the MRFs (Material Recovery Facilities), paper and bottles and cans and all sorts of other materials race down the line while employees try to snatch out the contaminants (watch the action on our video at: https://clarkgreenneighbors.org/recycling-done-right/recycling-done-right-video). Although they've slowed down the lines to try to reduce the contaminants getting through, it's like shutting down two lanes of I-5. Things start to back-up at the beginning, and the result is a backlog of materials to sort. It is the responsibility of residents to keep contaminants out of the recycling. You are the only one who controls what goes into your Big Blue.
Follow the guidelines below, and if you're still not sure, throw it in the trash or use Recycling A to Z.
Just because an item has a recycle symbol on it doesn't mean our facilities can process it. When you go to recycle something…
Keep It Simple and Follow These Basic Guidelines
Is it smaller than my fist? Small materials like plastic rings/bottle caps and shredded paper may be recyclable in content, but they are too small to go through the line. Instead they fall into the gears of the sorting equipment or are lost along the way.
Recycle in Big Blue:
- Paper and Cardboard: recycle sheets of paper and cardboard boxes (In general, keep out papers and boxes with a glossy or plastic covering as many of these products may not be recyclable depending on the other materials blended with them)
- Cartons: recycle drink and broth cartons
- Plastic: go by shape, not the plastic recycling number stamped on the container - recycle bottles, jugs, and tubs only (NO plastic bags or film)
- Metal: recycle pop cans, soup cans, and tins
Always recycle glass bottles next to your blue cart in Binnie. Broken glass can ruin equipment and pose a threat to workers so always put whole bottles in Binnie and keep all glass out of your Big Blue so it can be processed safely.
Always put batteries (AA, AAA, C, D, Lithium, Mercury, Ni-Cad) in a clear bag on top of Big Blue, NEVER IN the cart.
For motor oil or antifreeze, pour it in a 1-gallon, clear plastic jug (such as a milk gallon) with a screw cap and place them next to Binnie. Do not mix motor oil and antifreeze.
If you're an avid recycler or want to know more of the complexities of what's recyclable or not, including recycling beyond the curb, download the Recycle Right App or use Recycling A to Z and continue following our blog series "Resilient Recycler."