Earth Day 2019 is approaching quickly and it’s a great time to start recycling or brush up on what items are allowed in your recycling bin! Many items are commonly recycled in curbside bins that should not be. Below is a list of the five most common items that you may be recycling incorrectly.
1. Plastic Bags
Of course it is always best to say no to plastic bags and use your own reusable bags. Plastic bags are the most common contaminant in recycling. While plastic bags are recyclable, they cannot be placed in your curbside recycling bin.
Nashville’s recycling is single stream, which means the recyclables are separated by machines. Plastic bags get caught in the gears of the machinery and can pose a hazard to those working in the facility. To recycle your plastic bags, collect them and return them to your local grocery store chain such as Walmart, Kroger, Target, or Publix. Many of these stores have a plastic bag drop off zone where you can recycle your bags.
Like plastic bags, glass items are also not accepted in Nashville’s curbside bins. Glass bottles can be recycled at one of Nashville’s recycling drop-off locations or convenience centers.
Styrofoam is made of plastic, so you might think that it’s easily recyclable. In fact, Styrofoam is a #6 plastic, which means it is extremely difficult to recycle and is not accepted by most recycling systems.
Neither Nashville’s curbside bins, nor its drop off sites accept Styrofoam. Instead, Styrofoam products must be taken to specific places that accept Styrofoam. Some grocery stores will accept Styrofoam products and some mail services will accept it and repurpose it into packaging material. However, the easiest way to avoid Styrofoam waste is to not use it in the first place!
After a day of cooking vegetables or de-boning meat for dinner, it can feel wasteful to throw the scraps, stems, and bones of away. While these items cannot go into a curbside recycling bin, they can be composted and “recycled” into nutrient rich compost for gardens or farms.
Composting can be done at home or industrially, and compost is accepted at many of Nashville’s recycling convenience centers.
5. Soiled Fibers
Some items are very recyclable, such as cardboard and paper. However, these items become non-recyclable when they become soiled. For example, if a piece of paper becomes wet or a cardboard pizza box becomes soaked through with grease, these items are no longer able to be placed in a recycling bin, as they may contaminate other recyclable items in the stream.
While these items can’t be recycled, they can be composted! Along with recycling, these compostable items are accepted at many of Nashville’s recycling convenience centers, however, these items are difficult to process in a home composting system.
Have more questions about recycling? Check out Socket’s Waste Webpage!