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More And More Items Are Recyclable Now. But Where Should You Take Them?

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For those who want to preserve landfill space and be nicer to the planet, the knowledge that more and more items are now recyclable can be comforting. However, it can also be frustrating as all-encompassing recycling facilities sometimes are hard to find. While many things can be tossed into curbside recycling bins, a lot of other recyclables can't. If you've got items that can't go in those bins, you either have to search for a spot to bring them to or try to get your recycling service to update their policies.  

Recyclable Plastic Bags

From the reusable plastic bags you get at many grocery stores now to plastic sandwich baggies, plastic bags are truly an indispensable tool. While some people are against plastic, there's no doubt that this material has made it easier to hold garbage, for example, without liquids dripping through the material. Fortunately, many plastic bags are recyclable now. Even some brands of zippered sandwich and storage bags have changed their formulas to make the bags recyclable. Unfortunately, however, you generally can't put any of these bags into your home or workplace's recycling bins.

For thicker grocery store bags, some grocery stores still have bins where you can place those extra bags. A number of stores removed their bins at the start of the pandemic, but certain chains still offer to collect the bags. Best of all, you can put the recyclable sandwich and storage bags in there, too. If no stores have these bins, contact a local recycling center as many of them will take the bags.

Recyclable Items With Food Residue on Them

Food residue on paper goods has been a persistent problem for recycling. Grease-stained pizza boxes are a classic example. The cardboard boxes have to be torn up, with the greasy spots put in the trash because there's no way to separate the grease from the cardboard in the recycling process. The grease prevents the paper/cardboard slurry in the recycling process from forming correctly.

However, many areas are starting to expand their municipal composting programs, and these recyclable paper goods that are contaminated with food can go in the composting bins used in these programs. That said, how you wrap up the items varies. For instance, some programs allow food waste and these other items to be placed in paper sacks, while others allow certain compostable bags. Still others just want the compostable items themselves.

If you use a private company for your recycling and want to include composting, talk to them. It could be they already have plans in the works.

Expanded Polystyrene (EPS; Styrofoam)

Expanded polystyrene is often used for foam takeout containers and foam cups. Unfortunately, they used to be among the top villains of the eco-friendly movement. Through a lot of effort, many cities have revamped their recycling programs to accept these containers. And for places whose recycling programs don't take these containers, you can usually find drop-off locations. If your recycling company won't take these, don't despair. Instead, speak with other recycling companies that will take them and see about setting up an individual contract for EPS pickup. 

Contact a company that offers recycling solutions for more info.