Recycling the Wrong Things?


ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 75 percent of American waste is recyclable, but we only recycle about 30 percent. You can do your part by recycling plastic bottles, glass, and paper, but if you add your used coffee cup to that pile, you may be forcing your facility to treat your whole bin as trash.

Do you pride yourself on your excellent recycling habits?

Unfortunately, if you toss in that disposable coffee cup with your recyclables, you’re contaminating the entire load. Most single-use cups are lined with a liquid-proof film that makes them difficult to reprocess, so next time just keep it with your regular trash. Greasy pizza boxes and oily takeout containers with leftover food are also treated as trash, so rinse it out or keep it away from clean recyclables.  If you stash your plastic bags to be recycled, stop now! They plug up machinery and create a huge headache for waste management workers. Instead, find a drop-off near you where they will be sent to a special facility. Experts also say don’t throw your old running shoes in the garbage! Many organizations like Nike, Running Wild, and the More Foundation will recycle and reuse old sneakers. Also, Home Depot has a recycling program for old Christmas lights, and the organization ReCork will take your old wine corks to grind down and reuse.

Approximately one third of America’s 66 million tons of recycling material is exported with majority going to China. Now with China’s import ban of different types of plastic and paper along with tighter standards, scrap exports to china have fallen 35 percent in the first two months of this year. This has caused these materials to end up in local dumps.

Contributors to this news report include: Hayley Hudson, Producer; Angela Clooney, Videographer and Editor.

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