Top 5 Recycling Misconceptions

We receive a lot of questions about recycling and what is and is not accepted into our programs, so we’ve decided to answer the top five questions that come across our emails, phone calls, and on social media in one place.

  1. Plastic Bags – Plastic bags can get caught in our recycling facility machinery and are NOT accepted in the recycling. If you collect your recyclables in a bag,  empty the contents into the cart, but put the plastic bag in the garbage. Try and avoid plastic bags and all flimsy plastics as much as possible by bringing your own shopping and produce bags, or by purchasing items with minimal or no packaging.
  2. Black Plastic – We use optical sorters that use the reflection of light to identify the type of plastics to separate them. Black plastic doesn’t reflect light and cannot be sorted by the scanners and can end up contaminating other materials. So please put black plastic in the garbage.
  3. Wet or food-soiled paper products (paper towels, paper plates, pizza boxes) – Any paper product that has been soiled with food or liquid needs to go into the compost. Only clean paper products like office paper, newspaper, magazines, and cardboard (that’s flattened) belong in the recycling.
  4. Aseptic Containers – These are the shelf stable containers for non-dairy milks or soups and are  found in the grocery aisle.  Aseptic containers are made with multiple material types including paper, plastic, and aluminum. Our facility is not able to handle containers with multiple material types and thus aseptic containers go into the garbage.
  5. Batteries – Batteries contain toxic materials and need to be disposed of properly. Please never place batteries into ANY of your carts or bins. Information about how and where to dispose of your household batteries can be found at: rethinkwaste.org/batteries

Remember that materials are only recyclable if they can be turned into something else and as long as there is a market for the materials. Historically, most mixed paper and mixed plastics went to China for processing and manufacturing into new products. China recently changed their standards to stricter contamination limits and import bans have made it more difficult to market these materials.

Have a question about what does or doesn’t belong in your blue recycling cart? Shoot us a note below!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.