Adjusting To Recycling Realities With A Re-Primer

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Thanks to National Public Radio (USA) for this re-primer on recycling, a guide to what you should be doing after all the recent changes in where our refuse goes, and now does not go:

PLASTICS

What’s recyclable, what becomes trash — and why

Every year, the average American goes through more than 250 pounds of plastic waste, and much of that comes from packaging. So what do we do with it all?

Your recycling bin is part of the solution, but many of us are confused about what we should be putting in there. What’s recyclable in one community could be trash in another.

This interactive explores some of the plastics the recycling system was designed to handle and explains why other plastic packaging shouldn’t go in your recycling bin.

Let’s take a look at some items you might pick up at the grocery store.

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PLASTIC WRAP

Not recyclable curbside.

At the store we find it covering vegetables, meats and cheeses. It’s common, but it can’t be recycled because it’s hard to deal with at the material recovery facility, or MRF. The MRF is where items collected from residences, offices and more through public and private recycling programs are taken to be sorted, baled and sold. The thin film gets wrapped around the equipment and can bring the operation to a standstill.

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SMALL PLASTICS

Not usually recyclable, but check with your local department of public works or recycling program.

Small plastics, roughly 3 inches or smaller, also can cause problems for recycling equipment. Bread bag clips, pill packaging, single-use condiment pouches — all of these small pieces get caught or fall between the belts and gears of the machinery at the MRF. They end up being treated as trash. Plastic tampon applicators are not recyclable; just throw them away…

Read the whole guide here.

 

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