Friday, October 12, 2012

Recycling Myths: Debunked

I hear a lot of these myths repeated over and over (because if you say something enough it has to be true, right?), and I wanted to set the record straight.

Myth 1: You have to remove the caps from your bottles before you recycle them because the cap and the bottle are different kinds of plastic.
Fact 1: The caps should be left on! The recyclers have a very efficient way of getting the two different plastics separated. Once the bottles get to the recycler, they are chipped and put into a vat of water. One of the types of plastic floats and one kind sinks. Skim off the floating plastic and voila!

Myth 2: As long as my diabetic pens/ needles are in a hard plastic jug I can recycle it because the jug is recyclable.
Fact 2: Nope, needles should never be placed in with the recycling, even if they are in a hard plastic jug with the lid taped on. Why? Have you ever seen a recycling processor facility? View it here. Many of the parts in the process can crush or crack open the lid of that container, thus, throwing needles all over. Obviously, this poses a health and safety risk for the employees. So what should you do? Take that jug and put it in with the regular trash, or buy a sharps container from your pharmacy and follow disposal instructions.

Myth 3: Food-stained and grease soaked paper can be recycled.
Fact 3: In the paper making process, recycled paper must be turned back into pulp to make new paper. The paper is put into a churning vat of water and made into pulp. Oil and water don’t mix and thus the oil causes spots and holes in the finished product. Your best bet? Tear or cut out the food soaked areas and recycle the rest. Your food soaked paper can also be composted.

Myth 4: I heard that I can recycle my plastic bags with my curbside recycling.
Fact 4: Even though plastic bags are recyclable, they are not accepted in most curbside programs. They get caught in the machinery and can cause a lot of damage. Take these bags back to the grocery store where most have a plastic bag recycling center in the entrance area. FYI, those plastic bag programs also take newspaper bags, dry cleaning bags, bread bags, and Ziploc bags (sans food of course).

Myth 5: Recycling is a time consuming burden on the American public.
Fact 5: Recycling does not require much time at all. In fact, the author of Recycling is Garbage asked a college student to measure the time he spent separating materials for recycling during one week. The total time was a mere 8 minutes.

So there you have it, 5 recycling myths Debunked. Thirsty for more? Just ask a question in the comments and I will answer to the best of my abilities!

Tags: recycling Bloomington il, recycling Normal il, recycling Springfield il, recycling Decatur il, recycling Peoria il


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