You’ve probably heard of the three R’s. If you read our blog post about the five R’s, then you know about the other two as well, and you also know that recycling, although better than throwing something away, should not be the first choice. But for the times where you can’t refuse, reduce, reuse, or rot (compost), how should you go about recycling?
Only Clean Items Go in the Recycling Bin
Unlike items that are going to landfill, it is important for recyclable materials to be clean. It is easier to recycle items that are clear of non-recyclable materials, such as food waste. Make sure to rinse metal and plastic items thoroughly and remove any paper or thin plastic labels before putting them in a recycling bin. Paper and cardboard that is dirty, like greasy pizza boxes, cannot be recycled at all.
Look into What Can Be Recycled Specifically in Your Area
Just because an item is able to be recycled doesn’t mean that it will be recycled in your area. If you want to know what can go in the recycling bins on campus, that information can be found here on our website. If you live off campus and use curbside recycling, make sure to look into what your specific company will take. Keep checking regularly, as things may change!
Is the Item Labeled as Recyclable?
Some items may look recyclable, but aren’t. For example, paper cups are usually lined with plastic, and are unable to be recycled. If you are unsure if an item is recyclable, check for a recycling symbol or “please recycle” listed somewhere on it. Not all recyclable items are labeled, but if you are unsure, it’s a good place to start.
When in Doubt, Throw It Out
Items that are not fit to be recycled should not be places in recycling bins. Not only will the item itself not be recycled, but it can prevent the items around it from being recycled as well. If you are unsure whether or not an item can be recycled, it is best to throw it away and do some research so you know for next time!