When I was in Spain, I noticed the designated areas for trash bins. The people have to take the trash to these bins and then sort. They had a bin for glass, one for plastic, one for cardboard and one for general trash. They had a few more that I honestly never figured out what went in those bins. European countries are now required to recycle at least 55% of municipal waste by 2025, 60% by 2030 and 65% by 2035.
This got me thinking about how much did I really know about what I can recycle myself here in Oklahoma. Turns out about 15-30% of items placed in recycle bins end up in a landfill depending on which study you are viewing. The United States has no national law mandating recycling and is left up to each state on whether to offer it or not. In order to make the most of our recycling I took a look at the requirements and learned a few things that I was not aware of so READ ON….
I’m sure you are well aware that you just place items in the recycle bin loosely with no plastic bags. Let’s take a look at some of the other recommendations:
- Rinse cans, jars and bottles but leave labels on
- Break down and flatten cardboard boxes – you do NOT have to remove tape or labels
- Plastic food and bathroom containers – rinse and replace lids
- Magazines, direct mail, paper products – staples are ok
- Aluminum cans, foil, containers – rinse first
Do NOT place these in recycling bins:
- Wet cardboard or excessively greasy food containers (like pizza boxes) or oil
- No plastic bags of any type
- No Styrofoam
- No garden hoses
- No hard plastic like plastic plant containers or plant flats
- Light Bulbs
- **Dirty food containers are a huge problem because it contaminates things around it and then more of the items get tossed into the landfill.
There are drop off locations for hazardous materials like paint, batteries etc. You can find the location of these locations here.
E waste like old printers/computers/phones is a really key area that needs to be recycled. Many metals can be extracted from these devices and reused. They can’t go in our bins though. These must go to an E waste center. Depending on your area, Best Buy, office depot and Target have been known to have E waste capabilities. Just call them first before carting your old stuff to them or check out the link above for suggestions.
To your health,