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Just one incorrectly recycled item can contaminate your entire recycling bin, and all contaminated recyclables are ultimately sent to the landfill. Follow these tips to start recycling smarter and help keep your recyclables out of the landfill.
Which plastics can be recycled?
Plastics #1-5 and #7 can be recycled, keeping in mind the following guidelines:
– Recycle plastic bottles and jugs. This includes plastics like water bottles, milk jugs, detergent bottles and cleaning bottles.
– Do not recycle flexible plastics. This includes flimsy plastics such as Ziploc bags, bubble wrap, flexible plastic packaging and grocery bags. These flexible plastics will wrap around and get tangled in recycling equipment.
What should I do with my plastic grocery bags?
Plastic grocery bags are one of the most common contaminants found in recycling bins. Although the bag is made of plastic, these flexible plastics will get tangled in the recycling plant’s machinery. Because the plant cannot process these plastic bags, any plastic bags recycled in your bin will be considered a contaminant, will not be recycled and instead will be sent to the landfill.
Some stores will collect used plastic shopping bags for recycling. Check to see if your local grocery store offers to recycle plastic bags. If you can’t recycle them at a local store, then it’s best to throw the bags away in your trash bin to avoid contaminating your recycling bin.
Reusable shopping bags are a great alternative to plastic. If possible, keep a few reusable shopping bags in your car to use next time you go shopping.