Black or blue bin, paper or plastic, what exactly can be recycled and where? A lot of people think plastic bags are recyclable. In a way they are recyclable, just not in your regular recycling bin. It all sounds so confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. Jared Cotter and Recycling Coordinator for the City of Phoenix Lucas Mariacher have three simple tips to make sure you recycle the right way.
1. What Can and Can't Be Recycled
If you have a recycling bin, whether that's at your curb, or whether you bring it into a facility, you want to bring your basic materials like papers, plastic bottles and jars, glass containers and metals, but dealing with plastic bags is where it gets tricky. The main problem with film plastics are they're very stretchy so they get wrapped around the disc screens and after a certain amount of these get wrapped around those machines they actually have to get in and cut them out with knives.
Try taking supermarket type plastic bags back to the stores to recycle. Other types of bags, though, are a problem. This is actually plastic, metal and adhesive so once those are all combined they are not recyclable. Another mistake people make is when they put their recyclables into bags before tossing them into the bins. The reason that's a problem is because when these bags get to a facility the people that are sorting your material, they don't have 15 seconds to rip open every single bag. They have about half a second to make a decision so they're actually going to pull those bags off.
2. Using the Proper Bins
A single stream recycling program where you can put your papers your plastics, glass and metal all in one container is the best. In some cities still you have to have three to four containers. Inconvenience and confusion results in millions of tons of garbage thrown into recycling bins each day and that is bad for the planet.
3. Recycle to Resell
For things like batteries, light bulbs, electronics and paint you should call your household hazardous waste people at the city. Some cities have programs to take unused paint, remix them and sell them back to people at a discount. Scrap yards will also buy your bulk items. If you have any heavy metals like car parts, wheels, aluminum, or copper you can make some money off so please don't recycle those in your curbside container. Save those for some extra cash you can make on the side and make sure you're focusing again on the basics. Reduce, reuse and then recycle at the end and maybe make a few bucks in the process.
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