Wednesday, August 5, 2009

What not to recycle...

Recycling is the way to go unless it is one of the following:

  • Aerosol cans: Sure, they're metal. But since spray cans also contain propellants and chemicals, most municipal systems treat them as hazardous material.
  • Brightly dyed paper: Strong paper dyes work just like that red sock in your white laundry.
  • Ceramics and pottery: This includes things such as coffee mugs. You may be able to use these in the garden.
  • Diapers: It is not commercially feasible to reclaim the paper and plastic in disposable diapers.
  • Hazardous waste: This includes household chemicals, motor oil, antifreeze, and other liquid coolants. Motor oil is recyclable, but it is usually handled separately from household items. Find out how your community handles hazardous materials before you need those services.
  • Household glass: Window panes, mirrors, light bulbs, and tableware are impractical to recycle. Bottles and jars are usually fine. Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs (CFLs) are recyclable, but contain a small amount of mercury and shouldn't be treated as common household bulbs. For ideas on how to handle them, see Five Ways to Dispose of Old CFLs.
  • Juice boxes and other coated cardboard drink containers. Some manufacturers have begun producing recyclable containers. These will be specially marked. The rest are not suitable for reprocessing.
  • Medical waste: Syringes, tubing, scalpels, and other biohazards should be disposed as such.
  • Napkins and paper towels: Discouraged because of what they may have absorbed. Consider composting.
  • Plastic bags and plastic wrap: If possible, clean and reuse the bags. Make sure neither gets into the environment.
  • Plastic-coated boxes, plastic food boxes, or plastic without recycling marks: Dispose safely.
  • Plastic screw-on tops: Dispose separately from recyclable plastic bottles. Remember that smaller caps are a choking hazard.
  • Styrofoam: See if your community has a special facility for this.
  • Tires: Many states require separate disposal of tires (and collect a fee at the point of sale for that purpose).
  • Tyvek shipping envelopes: These are the kind used by the post office and overnight delivery companies.
  • Wet paper: In general, recyclers take a pass on paper items which have been exposed to water. The fibers may be damaged, and there are contamination risks.

No comments:

Post a Comment