The majority of the materials that our community uses on a daily basis are changing drastically. Due to the ever-changing product and material consumption rate, newer types of plastics have been created. All-Points Waste Service has been taking initiative in what the best way to recycle at home is, and how to recycle on a larger community level.
Have you ever been in a situation where you’re holding a plastic item, such as a water or soda bottle, a disposable dinner plate, or maybe even a sheet of plastic covering that you removed from a microwavable meal, and wondered if this recyclable? Do you place this particular plastic item in a regular garbage container because you are unsure if it is deemed as “recyclable material,” or do you take a gamble and throw it into the recycling bin in an attempt to be environmentally responsible? There is a 50/50 chance that you are doing something positive that will promote the well-being of your community and your planet, so why not give it a try, right?
The recycling situation mentioned above is way more common than you might think. Figuring out how to recycle or when to use recycling bins over waste bins is oftentimes a trickier process than it actually should be today. When it comes to reusing and repurposing recyclable materials in order to make the best use of our natural resources or limit the number of carbon emissions, our community often unknowingly misses the mark.
Why is it that only certain types of plastics and other reusable materials, such as cardboard and paper, can be placed in recycling bins? At All-Points Waste Service, we try to help our customers understand which items and materials can be recycled, and which ones cannot. With our efforts and other recycling and waste industry leader’s efforts to educate consumers, you would think we would be better as a whole at recycling all of the recyclable materials and goods by now and in turn reduce the amount of plastics and other materials that end up in landfills. It is more the case that doing this the right way and knowing how we can recycle better is still the most difficult part about recycling.
All About Recycling Plastics
Plastics seem to be the most prevalent packaging material in use. Even when it comes to children’s toys or other electronic devices, you cannot seem to get away from plastics. As we become more “fast-paced” in our work habits and time schedules, so has the need for convenient food options. What is the solution to packaging these convenient snack options, or even microwaveable meals? Plastic packaging.
Sure, plastic packaging has its advantages like keeping certain foods fresher for longer periods of time. However, the rise of plastics for containing foods has led to more complex problems. How do we recycle these many different kinds of plastics correctly, and more importantly, should we recycle all of these plastics?
Have you ever noticed that there is a number inside the little recycling symbol on your plastic items? This number is called a resin identification code, or RIC. These resin identification codes are a labeling system that the Plastics Industry Association began using in 1988. The number inside the recycling symbol on types of plastics indicate the type of resin from which the plastic is made. There are currently seven different types of resin used to make plastics, so these resin identification code numbers are labeled one to six on plastic items.
Unfortunately, not all recycling facilities are able to process all seven types of plastic items. In fact, most recycling facilities are only able to process a few types of plastic. The most commonly recyclable plastics are those with a resin identification code of #1 or #2. These two types are usually accepted by most curbside recycling pick up services. Some types of plastics are recyclable, but that does not necessarily mean that your community is able to recycle these items. The best way to know which plastics you can recycle is to contact your recycling service provider directly.
It is very important that you do not place in your recycling bin a type of plastic that your recycling service provider does not accept. This will result in a form of contamination.
For a quick guide on the different types of recyclable plastics and understanding their number system, check out this helpful guide. The result of this contamination can ruin batches of recycled plastic. That means that a lot of otherwise recyclable materials can end up going to the landfill, despite your best intentions.
Plastic bags, such as grocery bags, in particular, should never be put in your household recycling bin. Plastic bags can easily get caught in recycling sorting machine. This can significantly damage sorting machines, resulting in a lot of expensive repairs and a lot of lost time for the recycling facility. On the upside, however, many supermarkets have specific receptacles designated for plastic bags. This makes recycling your plastic bags easy. You can simply put them in the bin on your way inside the supermarket on your next shopping trip. Just make sure that the plastic bags are clean and dry!
Still wondering about the other items that your local recycling service can’t recycle? Your community likely also has other resources for those items. Many communities now have facilities or haulers who can recycle other specific materials.
Single Stream Recycling
All-Points Waste Service has a solution to help you overcome the confusion regarding what materials can be recycled. It’s called single-stream recycling (also referred to as fully comingled and single-sorted recycling). This system of recycling allows you to place all of your recyclable materials in to one single recycling bin. This means that you do not have to sort your recyclable materials in to individual containers.
Then your recyclable materials are picked up by one truck and taken to the recycling center for processing. The ease of the single-stream recycling system doesn’t stop there though! Once at the recycling center, the recyclable materials still do not have to be sorted. That’s right. These recyclable materials are processed using systems that are specifically designed to handle these completely comingled mixtures of recyclable materials. After the materials have been processed by this single stream recycling system, they are transferred to a materials recovery facility. Once there, the materials are then separated for reuse.
What Can be Recycled in Single Stream Recycling?
This is the most common question asked by every consumer because as mentioned before, knowing what can and cannot be recycled is the most difficult part of recycling today. So how are you supposed to know if your items are recyclable?
Here’s a list of everything that you can be recycled using the All-Points Waste Service’s Single Stream Recycling Service:
• Plastic Containers (except those that are marked with #6)
• Rigid Plastics (toys, litter boxes and buckets)
• Empty Aerosol Cans
• Cartons & Juice Boxes
• Cardboard (flattened)
• Tin/Steel Cans
• Paper (newspaper, brown paper bags, magazines, corrugated containers, junk mail, high-grade paper, cereal boxes, telephone books)
Here’s a list of what All-Points Waste Service is not currently able to recycle at this time:
• Pizza Boxes
• Bottle Caps or Lids
• Plastic Bags
• Plastic Food Trays & Cups
• Pots & Pans
• Paper Plates & Napkins
• Batteries, Light bulbs, or Wire Hangers
• Clamshell takeout boxes or Styrofoam
Start Recycling Better Today!
Do these lists seem like a lot to remember? All-Points Waste Service has a handy flyer for you. Click here and scroll to the bottom of the page and hit download! Just print it out, hang it on your refrigerator or near your recycling bin, and you will have a quick and easy reference any time that you need it.