November 15, 2020

Recycling 101

I'm on a mission to recycle more efficiently. Growing up, my dad alway installed in us the importance of recycling and how talking care of the environment was on us. That is something that has really stick with me my whole life! But as I watch my family members put different items into our recycling bin each week, I began to wonder if we are even doing it right. Is what we are putting into our bin even getting recycled or are we putting wrong items in the bin? So I decided to do a deep dive on recycling and recycling in my area. I've compiled a list of do's and don'ts if you will. What is recyclable and what is not. I hope this helps anyone else out there trying to do their part in the most efficient way! 

Let's start by defining recycling. Recycling is the process of collecting and processing materials that would otherwise be thrown away as trash and turning them into new products. Recycling can benefit your community, the economy and the environment. Well that all sounds great, sign me up! So, if you are recycling, let's make sure you are only placing items in your recycling bin that can actually be recycled.

Putting items in the recycling bin that can’t be recycled can contaminate the recycling stream. After these unrecyclable items arrive at recycling centers, they can cause costly damage to the equipment. They must be sorted out and then sent to landfills, which raises unnecessary costs for the recycling facility. That is why it is important to check with your local recycling facility for a list of what is acceptable to send in. If you're local in the Chicago suburbs odds are Flood Brothers is your recycling facility. You can find a full list of items they accept here

Let's get down to the basics:


-Bubble wrap 
-Plastic grocery bags (although you can save them and turn them in at your local grocery store. Or better yet, only use reusable bags! ) 
- Wire &/or plastic hangers
-Paper towels
-Pizza boxes (although if it IS 100% free of grease, you can recycle it. I usually recycling at least the clean top of the box.)
-Plastic toys (not always 100% plastic and better off at your local thrift store/shelter/daycare donation.)
-Scrap wood (if 100% untreated, it can be recycled at some facilities) 
-Electronic items 
-Food waste
-Food-tainted items- used paper plates, napkins, paper towels 
-Yard waste

Please Recycle: 

-Aluminum food and beverage cans
-Newspapers, junk mail and envelopes
-Foil and pie tins
-Ferrous (iron), steel and tin cans
-Clear, green and brown glass bottles and jars
-Empty aerosol cans, dry paint cans
-Juice and soda bottles, 6 & 12-pack rings
-Telephone books
-Cardboard & cereal boxes
-Cetergent & shampoo bottles
-Office & copy paper (without wax liners)
-Catalogs & magazines
-PET plastic containers with the #1 symbol-screw tops only, without the caps, no black trays
-Water & milk jugs/cardboard cartons (with #2 symbol)
-Plastics with the #3, #4, #5, #6, or #7 symbol 
-Brown paper bags

I wanted to note that adding a recycling bin (and a compostable bin) to our upstairs has been a game changer. I had always brought down boxes and toilet paper ends, but once you put a bin up there, it's crazy how much less garbage and how much more recycling there is! Compost bin too, but we can chat about that a different day. 

Also, rinse everything out! Cans, glass jars, paper plates, everything! By sending in clean recyclable items you are helping your local recycling facility do their best job too. It's so simple to take a few extra moments and do it properly. 

A good rule of thumb is alway to reduce and reuse, but if you have to let the item go, please recycle! Did you find this post helpful or are you a recycling pro? Thanks so much for stopping by the blog today. I hope you make it a great day! xoxo 

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