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Recycle Right: 10 Ways to Help Save Our Systems

Today marks Global Recycling Day, designed to drive world leaders to work together on recycling as a global issue and ask people across the planet to think resource, not waste, when it comes to the goods around us. Here’s why this is so important in the US:

Ultimately, recycling is NOT the answer as we need to change our larger consumption and packaging norms to begin with. However, it’s still important we all do our part to help our local systems with these simple steps.

#1 Learn Your City’s Rules

It’s not easy being green, each municipality has its own capabilities… find out!

#2 No Bags!

Tossing these curbside seriously tangles recycling machines. Find a specific drop-off. (Don’t bag recyclables either.)

#3 Small Things = Big Problems

Anything smaller than a credit cart clogs the machines. Keep bottle caps on, toss straws and plastic dishware.

#4 Quick Rinse is Good

You don’t need to go crazy, but a rinse of sticky residue will ensure it won’t grease up and ruin your other mixed recyclables like papers.

#5 Keep Out Food Waste!

It contaminates about 25% of our recycling… NO greasy pizza boxes, oily take-out containers or dirty plastics. (ps. These aren’t recycled at restaurants.)

#6 Combined Materials = Trash

Recycling only works when like materials are together. Ahem, plastic-coated coffee cups! It could help to take tape off cardboard boxes.

#7 Know Your Plastics

#1 and #2 are generally curbside-recyclable. The rest get harder to recycle and slow our cities down (especially the catch-all #7). Check locally.

#8 Beware the Bioplastic

Compostable and biodegradable labels? Compostable plastics are ONLY SO in industrial facilities! Ask those manufacturers, are these curbside recyclable or backyard compostable? How do I dispose of this responsibly?

#9 Find Specialty Recycling Options

For things like batteries, tires, electronics, paint cans, toys, clothing, print cartridges, wood, mattresses and more. Keep your own bins for this to create the habit.

#10 No Wishcycling… When in doubt, throw it out!

NO! Garden hoses and cords, plastic bags, diapers, propane tanks, needles, clothing, Christmas lights, coated paper products, etc. Don’t ruin a lot of other recycling with your good intentions.

If you’re anything like us, it hurts to throw things away… Just remember, recycling right can be hard, but it’s important so we don’t do more harm than good with our best intentions. Here are a few other recycling resources you can check out:

Another way to help?

Buy recycled to drive consumer demand for recycled gear:

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