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A Lot of the Stuff We Throw in Those Recycling Bins Is Really Just Trash

For most Californians, it’s a no brainer. Toss all your recyclables into a big blue bin, a truck comes to take it, and it all somehow gets recycled.

But it turns out this easy-as-1-2-3 scenario is at least part fantasy.

Much of what’s in our blue bins is simply trash — meaning, it doesn’t get recycled, but ends up in landfill. Last week KQED’s Brian Watt spoke about the issue and what can be done about it with Mark Murray, who directs the advocacy group Californians Against Waste.

The following excerpts have been edited for length and clarity.

You have said consumers have been lulled into thinking almost everything is recyclable.

Mark Murray: Well there’s been such a desire to divert material from landfill, and there has been a lack of appreciation of the difficulty consumers have in figuring out the details. So programs have erred on the side of saying, ‘Just throw it all in the bin.’ But we know that not all that material is recyclable.

Read the full story at KQED Science here.