If you are unsure of what to recycle, start small, start easy.
The following list describes items that are typically accepted at most recycling centers and curbside pickup and have the least amount of "rules":
|Aluminum Cans: You all know these, the Coke, Pepsi, and Sprites of the world.|
|Steel Cans: Soup cans, veggie cans, coffee cans, etc., including the can lids. And you don't even need to remove the labels.
hint: a helpful mantra to remember the first two is "The cans can (be recycled)!"
|Newspaper: OK, so I'm not going to insult you with a description for this one.|
|Magazines and slick inserts: After you are finished with that People magazine and all those catalogs and Wal-mart ads that arrive in the mail, they can be recycled.|
The next list of what to recycle describes items that are accepted on a regular basis, with some exceptions, and a few more rules:
|Corrugated Cardboard: Shipping and packaging boxes, usually identifiable by a squiggly layer of paper sandwiched between sheets. Used pizza boxes are often NOT accepted.|
|Paper and Paperboard: Office paper, notebook paper, cereal boxes, non-Styrofoam egg cartons, some pre-packaged food boxes. Some paper items like paper milk cartons and drink boxes are lined with wax or plastic and are often not accepted.|
|Plastics: Milk jugs, shampoo bottles, detergent bottles, vitamin bottles, plastic soda and water containers etc. Most centers will accept those plastics labeled with the PETE 1 and HDPE 2 symbols and many more are accepting plastics labeled 1 - 7. These can generally be found molded into the bottom of the containers. If you can't identify the type of plastic, don't include it. Most facilities also require that you remove the cap since it is usually made of a different type of plastic.|
|Glass: Beer bottles, wine bottles, pickle jars, jelly jars, etc. Occasionally a center will accept only certain "colors" of glass. Light bulbs, Pyrex, ceramics, and mirrors are NEVER accepted. In some places, glass is becoming less accepted because of the potential of worker injuries due to broken glass.|
Wow, even that simple list seems somewhat overwhelming. Don't worry. You can start small and build as you feel more comfortable. Remember, Every little bit counts! When you are ready to move beyond the basics, I'll be ready for you. To help get you there, I've included a link to a quick list of what to recycle that you can hang on your refrigerator or even tape to the top of your recycling container and a sheet of stickers that you can print and adhere to your recycling bin.
The amount of information and seemingly endless facts about recycling is overwhelming. Here you can find the recycling basics to get you started.
Recycling Quick List
A recycling quicklist reference sheet. Print it out and put it on your refrigerator or tape it to your recycling container.
Where to Recycle
So now that you have started a collection of recyclables, what do you do with them? Click here to learn where to recycle.
History of the Recycling Symbol
Provides information about the recycling symbol history. How it was designed, why was it designed, and who was the mind behind the arrows universally associated with recycling.