Monday, August 30, 2010

What Do You Mean I Can't Recycle This?

*Originally posted @IEFamily: Missing Puzzle Pieces*

I'm a tad bit ashamed to admit this but I don't 'always' recycle. Yes. It's true. I'm one of the thousands upon thousands that don't go the extra 2 steps to the other bin.

However, if I take the last of the milk I wont toss the empty gallon into the Trash bin. I will set it aside from all of the other everyday trash so I can toss it in the recycling bin when I go outside. I'm doing my part (somewhat), right? Well I thought so.

Turns out that there are certain things that may seem like they can be recycled because they fall into the Paper, Plastic, Aluminum & Glass categories but in reality cannot. For example, pizza boxes cannot be recycled even though they're made out of cardboard, which is normally recyclable. Why not? Because it's been contaminated by food (aka: delicious pizza grease) and the fibers cannot be broken down to be reused.

Who would've thought? Not me! I'm constantly yelling at everyone not to throw the darn pizza boxes in the Trash bin because it needs to be recycled. Guess the jokes on me because they had it right all along, ha ha.

Here's a list of other things you may want to recycle normally but can't:

Food Contaminated Containers
  • Pizza boxes, take out containers, donut boxes (anything that contained prepared food).
  • Used paper plates, cups, & napkins.
  • Soy milk/broth cartons, waxed milk or juice cartons & some frozen food boxes (the coating that strengthens the container contains contaminants).
  • Foiled, glossy, glazed, glassine & lacquer coated packages (aka: candy wrappers, chip bags, juice boxes).

*Note: Cereal boxes, paper egg carton, cake boxes, etc. can be recycled as long as they're not soiled & don't have plastic coating or a layer of foil inside.*

Plastic Bottle Lids & Caps

  • Plastic bottle caps (such as soda, shampoo, water, milk, ketchup, mayo, peanut butter & laundry detergent caps) have a different melting point than plastic bottles so they can't be recycled together. Remember to remove the caps off of your bottles before placing the bottle in the recycling bin. Caps (plastic #5) are now being recycled by some Whole Foods & Aveda.

*Note: No worries about removing the plastic ring that's left behind on the bottle when you remove the lid. It's small enough to not cause problems.*

Cosmetic/Makeup Containers
  • Lipstick, blush, mascara & other containers can't be recycled due to the blend of materials they're sometimes made of. Luckily there are places out there that will take in your used makeup containers, regardless of the brand, and recycle it for you. Click here & herefor more info.


  • Mirrors are made of heat strengthened material & melt at a higher temperature than regular glass so it cannot be recycled like regular glass. If you ever had to toss out an old mirror make sure you package it safely so no one gets cut by it & remember to label it 'glass mirror'.

Shower Curtains & Liners

  • Many shower curtains & liner contain a material called PVC, which can emit toxic compounds in the air when melted down.

Colored Paper

  • Wrapping paper, brightly colored office & craft papers and construction paper cannot be recycled. The dyes used to create the colors are intense, concentrated & harsh and cannot be processed with regular paper recycling machines so this type of paper gets tossed in with the regular stinky trash.

Plastic Bags

  • According to recycling facilities, plastic bags are a pain in the butt. Not only do they waste time when they get stuck in machines, but they can also break or damage the equipments. The best thing to do with your used plastic bags is use them around the house (ie; bathroom trash bin) or take them to your local grocery store to be property recycled by them.


Now that I know all this I'll definitely be more careful about what I toss in that big-o green bin but to be honest, you wont catch me sorting through every bit of my trash to make sure I get it 'all' sorted out.

While surfing the web trying to find out more info on recycling I came across this tid bit of information that will for sure help me out when I cant figure out if it goes in the green bin or not, hopefully it'll help you out too:

The next time you find yourself hovering indecisively over a set of trash bins, here are some rules of thumb. Plastics marked No. 1 or No. 2 are virtually guaranteed to be accepted, so go ahead and toss them in with your recycling. Newspaper, corrugated cardboard, magazines, and office paper are most always good to go as well. If your mystery object doesn't fall into one of those categories, trash it.


  1. I loved this post! So funny! I knew about the pizza boxes but for a year or two we had no clue, either! LOL The other little things I didn't know about either.. the brightly colored paper is a good one.. I will try to remember all those rules.. lol Thanks for letting us know!

  2. Wow! I didn't know about that!
    Thanks for sharing!
    I loved this post!

  3. I'm surprised by some of the non-recyclable items! And here I considered myself a recycling expert...pft. Anyhoo, a little tip that makes it easier for us to recycle: We have a rubbermade storage bin in front of the trash can *just* for recyclables. When the trash goes outside every week, so does the bin. Voila! Lazy me doesn't have to walk outside 5 times a day! :)


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