Green Tip #15: Be A Careful Recycler

The new Federal administration has put fighting climate change as a marque item in their agenda. We all have a part to play in supporting this agenda. This bi-weekly Environmental Moment will highlight some environmental good news and offer tips on how you can help reduce waste, energy, and use of plastics. May this instill hope for our future.

Good News: Jamaica bans single use plastics!

Green Tip #15: Are you guilty of “wish-cycling”? In other words, do you throw anything you think might be recyclable into the blue bin? Did you know that all recycling is hand sorted by Recology employees? Be a careful recycler so that your discards don’t (a) overwhelm the system with things that cannot be recycled, (b) get thrown into the landfill because they aren’t cleaned or useful. Here’s some important facts: 

  1. 1. Do you put your recycling in a plastic bag (see photo)? Please don’t, the entire bag is tossed into the landfill. The sorters do not empty it. 
  2. 2. Do you put dirty plastics, glass, and cans in the recycle? Please don’t, these also automatically go into the landfill. Also, keep the lids on the empty, clean plastic or glass containers, otherwise loose lids will not get recycled.
  3. 3. Glassware, dishware, and broken glass cannot be recycled. If glassware or dishware are in decent shape, donate them to a thrift store instead of throwing them away.
  4. 4. Spray cans (any and all, from hairspray to paint) can be put in the recycle bin. BUT they MUST be fully empty and discharged of air or propellant. Do not puncture.
  5. 5. Do you put any and all plastic into the blue bin? Please don’t put soft plastics in, such as bags, wrappings, or bubble wrap. All these are put into the landfill by the sorters. Several Safeway markets around the county have bins to recycle plastic bags (plastic wrap is never recyclable). 
  6. 6. Do you put styrofoam into the blue bin? Please don’t, styrofoam is never recyclable. Be a smart shopper, please avoid buying products packaged in styrofoam. 
  7. 7 And about plastics in general: Look at the recycling letter on a plastic container. Only #1, #2, and #5 have any recycle value. All other plastics are landfilled. Please be a savvy shopper and try to avoid plastic containers in general and plastics with codes #3, #4, #7 and those that are unmarked.