The Basics of Recycling

For those of you who have been living under a rock for the past 15 years – recycling is the act of reusing something. There are different ways to interpret this like, recycling furniture to a Goodwill for someone else to use, or recycling electronics for scrappers to strip, and then there’s recycling plastics, paper, and cans to be reused by the company. While the first two examples are really fun things to talk about (who doesn’t love recycling, reusing and re-purposing items!?) It’s this method of recycling that is active in most developed countries worldwide. It depends on where you live, but some districts offer streamline recycling which basically means you don’t have to do anything. You can through all of your trash out with all of your recyclables and your lovely waste management facility sorts through it all. Some places require you to separate your goods on your own, so paper in one bin, cans in one and plastics in another – or some combination of these. So using this definition of recycling, what is considered recyclable?

  • Glass bottles (these can be recycled or reused for storing things around the house!)
  • Plastic bottles (these are one of the primary items to be littered – don’t do that)
  • Plastic bags (all of those grocery bags you save can be dropped off at the store to be used again)
  • Paper and cardboard (that pasta box you just emptied? Put that in the recycling bin.)
  • Aluminum cans (yes, tin foil counts)

What are some other atypical recycling items?

  • Batteries
  • Electronics
  • Hazardous waste
  • Demolition debris
  • Metal