Student’s Corner

How to Up Your Recycling Game

When you can’t reduce or reuse, recycling is a great way to decrease the amount of waste in landfills, incinerators and even in nature. However, if we aren’t keeping ourselves educated on the most effective and beneficial ways to recycle, we can accidentally contribute to contamination that takes away the positive aspects of recycling and ultimately increases our waste.

Stay Informed

Something that many people don’t know is that each county in the United States has different guidelines for recycling. To make things more confusing, these guidelines are constantly changing. It’s important that you stay up to date on what can and can’t be recycled in your community, to avoid contamination. Check out your local government’s website to read up on how you can recycle most effectively.

Items to be Wary of When Recycling

  1. Pizza boxes – Pizza boxes can be recycled only if there is not a lot of grease soaked into the box. If there is too much, the box can contaminate the rest of what is in that recycling bin!
  2. Plastic bottles and caps – When recycling plastic bottles and jugs it’s important to remember to keep the cap attached to the bottle. The caps can be too small for the machines to sort and recycle. 
  3. Solo cups – Single use plastic cups like Red Solo cups are not recyclable in Monroe County curbside recycling!
  4. Paper cups – Paper cups are often not recyclable because they have a plastic lining for insulation purposes that makes them not accepted by many recycling facilities.
  5. Plastic bags and packaging – These items are also not accepted in most curbside recycling nowadays.

Utilize Your Resources

Organizations like TerraCycle can really help you with recycling items that are not accepted locally near you! TerraCycle allows you to send them items like plastic bags and single use plastic cups and in turn they will dispose of them and recycle them for you. Many of these programs are even offered for free. Taking the extra step to send your hard-to-recycle items to organizations like TerraCycle can increase recycling and help you reduce your contribution to waste!

Written by Olivia Giovannini-Dolan, class of 2020