Q: What is recycling?
A: Recycling is the process of collecting and processing products that would otherwise be thrown away as trash to turn them into materials to be used to create new products.
Q: What are the benefits of recycling?
A: Recycling can benefit your community, the economy and the environment. Did you know that many companies now rely on recycled materials to make their products? Check out our page on recycled products.
Q: What is the U.S. recycling rate?
A: According to the EPA, the recycling rate is 32.1 percent. We’ve got work to do!
Q: What are the most commonly recycled materials that I can place in my curbside bin?
A: The most common materials include plastic jars and jugs, plastic bottles and caps (the most recyclable types of plastic carry a “1” or “2” label), paper, cardboard, glass bottles, beverage cans, food boxes and mail. However, local rules may vary from what is commonly recycled. To find out what numbers your curbside recycling program accepts, check with your recycling provider.
Q: Do I need to rinse my containers before placing them in the bin?
A: When in doubt, rinse it out! You should rinse the majority of food or product out of your container. This will help prevent containers from being landfilled rather than recycled. However, when it comes to packages containing soap, you don’t need to clean these out. Some facilities rely on the soap residue to clean the plastics during the recycling process.
Q: Why can’t I place my recyclables in a plastic bag before placing them in the bin?
A: Plastic bags get caught in the sorting machines at recycling plants. Recyclables should be placed directly into the bin. If you have plastic bags to recycle, please don’t put them in your bin. Many grocery stores have drop off locations for your bags to be recycled properly.
Q: Can pizza boxes be recycled?
A: Rumor had it that pizza boxes couldn’t be recycled if they have cheese or grease on them. But times are changing! Now, many recycling facilities accept pizza boxes. The pizza giant, Domino’s, released a new website for consumers to check the rules in their locality.
Q: Can juice boxes, boxed water or other cartons be recycled?
A: Boxed water and cartons are hard to recycle because of the various materials used to make the container, including plastic, cardboard, and small amounts of aluminum. While some U.S. recycling centers have begun to accept the cartons, it is not as common as people think. Contact your local recycling company to check if your curbside program collects these cartons.
Q: What do the numbers on plastics mean?
A: Many plastic items will have a number inside the recycling symbol. To find out what each one means, read our blog post. To find out what numbers your curbside recycling program accepts, check with your recycling provider.