Up Your Recycle Game — Five Common Mistakes and Quick Solutions

While residents may strive to be earth-friendly when they recycle, there is a chance that they are doing it wrong. According to Republic Services, one-third of what residents try to recycle in Phoenix can’t be recycled — whether it’s a dirty diaper, bowling ball (the company says they’ve seen them both) or peanut butter-coated jars. With Earth Day just around the corner, it’s time to re-educate residents on what can and cannot actually by recycled.

Here are five common mistakes — and how to do it right:

1. Recycling a pizza box
Can a pizza box be recycled? It depends. Chances are, the bottom of the box is greasy, making it too contaminated to be recycled. The solution? Rip or cut the box apart. If the top of the pizza box is clean and dry, it’s recyclable. The bottom of the box with the pizza grease and leftover food can go right in the trash.

2. Confusing decluttering with recycling
If your recent decision to choose joy in your home has led to bags of perfectly wearable things, drop them off in a dedicated reuse collection bin often found in malls or school parking lots, or take it to a local Goodwill or Savers. Recycling companies don’t have the resources to direct non-recyclables like clothes, toys or books to the proper venue. Not sure whether an item is recyclable or should be donated? Visit recyclingsimplified.com to find out or visit Earth911 to learn where usable items can be donated nearby.

3. Forgetting “empty, clean and dry”
Unfortunately, many perfectly good recyclables like cardboard can be ruined when they come into contact with other items that are wet or dirty. Just one bottle of ketchup with residue can contaminate an entire truckload of items that could otherwise be recycled. An easy way to ensure recyclables don’t end up in a landfill:

  • Empty the contents (food or liquid) of the container
  • Clean with a quick rinse using only a little bit of water so the item is free of food or other residue
  • Dry up any remaining liquid

4. Plastic over paper
Contrary to popular belief, plastic grocery bags or thin plastic film are not recyclable items. Instead, reuse plastic grocery bags and when ready to discard them, place in the trash or return to a local grocery store. Even better, purchase reusable grocery bags. Finally, don’t bag recyclables up. If they are collected in a bag, dump the bag’s contents into the recycling container loosely.

5. Recycling lawn or gardening waste
Now that spring is here, yard trimmings may be piling up in the backyard. Yard waste (flowers, green clippings and soil) and Christmas trees do not belong in the recycle container. Composting options for tree trimmings and other yard waste are offered in every community, but not via the recycling container.

To learn more, visit https://recyclingsimplified.com/recycling-basics.


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