Jump to content

Photo

What you can/cannot recycle


  • Please log in to reply
4 replies to this topic

#1 kate.com

kate.com

    VIP Member

  • VIP Member
  • 8,921 posts

    Posted 06 October 2009 - 09:22 AM

    Ok, so I recycle the basics, bottles, cans, newspaper but that is it. I decided that I needed a little refresher and this article came up.

    (Real Simple) - what you can and can't recycle -- and why.

    Plastic
    Most plastics are recyclable," says Keith Christman, senior director of packaging at the American Chemistry Council Plastics Division, in Arlington, Virginia.


    The problem is, not all plastics are recyclable everywhere.

    Almost all recycling programs accept plastics numbered 1 and 2. (Look for the number on the underside of a product, inside the ubiquitous triangle of chasing arrows.)

    But the numbers are not regulated federally; 39 states have various rules, so what you see can be inconsistent.

    "The plastics industry has put the recycle symbol on everything," says Marti Matsch of Eco-Cycle, in Boulder, Colorado. "People think the symbol means the item is recyclable, but that's not always true." More than a tool for recycling, "the symbol identifies what a certain plastic is made of," Christman says.

    Here, a cheat sheet.

    No. 1: Polyethylene terephthalate (PET, PETE), the most widely recycled plastic, is used for soft-drink bottles and is also commonly found in textiles, which explains why a bottle can be turned into fleece.

    No. 2: High-density polyethylene (HDPE) is used for detergent bottles and grocery bags.

    No. 3: Polyvinyl chloride (PVC or vinyl) is what salad-bar containers are made from.

    No. 4: Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) is used for dry-cleaning and fresh-produce bags.

    No. 5: Polypropylene (PP) is what makes bottle caps, yogurt cups, and drinking straws.

    No. 6: Polystyrene (PS) is also known as Styrofoam.

    No. 7: These "other" plastics, such as polycarbonate baby bottles, are generally not recyclable at most centers.

    Paper

    Putting the wrong type in the wrong bin can make a difference.

    Recycling facilities work to keep similar papers together so they can get the most money for their products. (For example, office paper, which has long fibers, is worth a lot more than the "mixed paper" of cereal boxes, which has shorter fibers.)

    Metal
    Recycling metal saves an enormous amount of energy and money.

    All steel products, for example, contain at least 25 percent steel scrap, which requires 75 percent less energy to produce than "virgin" steel and explains why scrap metal has become a valuable commodity.

    As for aluminum cans, recycling just one saves enough energy to run your TV for 2½ hours.

    Metal is separated into two piles -- ferrous (containing iron) and nonferrous. The device that figures this out? An industrial-size magnet that attracts ferrous metals, like steel, but not aluminum, which is nonferrous.

    Glass

    Recyclable glass almost always refers to "container" glass -- that is, bottles and jars. Other types, like windshields and Pyrex, have different melting points and are not accepted by most recyclers.
    Another factor is food contamination. Plastic, glass, and metal containers are cleaned to remove food, but paper is not. Food particles can contaminate an entire batch, as the food (along with the paper) begins to biodegrade if it is left to sit.

    When paper is recycled, it is pureed into a pulp "smoothie" and passes through screens that take out anything that's not paper: chunks of wood, plastic, or glass; paper clips; staples.

    It's then treated with chemicals to remove inks, which means recycled office paper can still be white.

    Related Articles:
    How to Recycle Anything
    50 All-Time Favorite New Uses for Old Things
    10 Smart Uses for Old Plastic Bags

    #2 azulskies

    azulskies
    • Sr. Member
    • 1,131 posts

      Posted 06 October 2009 - 12:02 PM

      Thanks for this..it's a good refresher.

       


      #3 ikupoo

      ikupoo
      • Jr. Member
      • 171 posts

        Posted 06 October 2009 - 12:06 PM

        Thanks for the info. I wish my city recycled 1 and 2 plastic. They only accept narrow necked bottles.
        I have stacks of large yogurt cups that I've been saving, because I feel guilty about throwing them away. I don't know what to do with them!

        #4 kate.com

        kate.com

          VIP Member

        • VIP Member
        • 8,921 posts

          Posted 06 October 2009 - 04:25 PM

          I needed the refresher too! I was on the earth day committee in HS and recycled... but then came college, and apartment living... so beyond the obvious I forgot!

          #5 ylan9383

          ylan9383
          • Jr. Member
          • 188 posts
          • Wedding Date:November 13, 2014
          • Wedding Location:Playacar Palace, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
          • LocationChicago

          Posted 02 January 2014 - 02:37 PM

          batteries, light bulbs






          0 user(s) are reading this topic

          0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users