Your Tricky Recycling Questions–Answered!
Why Is Recycling Important?
Landfills are filling up faster and faster each year, and they are hurting the environment and taking up a lot of space. Many household items are recycled, which means that when disposed of properly they can be reused. This helps the landfills fill up less quickly and helps the environment.
Which Common Household Items Can Be Recycled?
- Mixed papers such as: newspapers, junk mail, school papers, coloring pages, printing paper, paper grocery bags, etc.
- Cardboard materials such as: cereal boxes, boxed food, moving boxes, boxes for household appliances and electronic items, toilet paper and paper towel rolls, pizza boxes, egg cartons, etc.
- Metals such as: cans from canned food, hairspray and cologne cans, keys, soda cans, beer cans, metal chairs, etc.
- Glass products such as: pickle jars, applesauce jars, glass beer or wine bottles, glass soda bottles, baby food jars, etc.
- Rigid Plastics such as: plastic soda bottles, plastic berry containers, yogurt and sour cream containers, empty deodorant containers, etc.
Other household items may be recyclable depending on your city and state laws.
How to Recycle Common Household Items
The majority of American cities and towns offer recycling programs, and recycling is generally picked up by the sanitation department. This is the same department that picks up your garbage. You can recycle items by creating a separate waste bin in your house for recyclable items. You will need to separate the mixed papers and cardboard from the glass, plastics and metals before recycling them. If you live in a house, you can usually request a recycling bin from the sanitation department, or you can buy one from a home improvement, grocery or hardware store. You can request recycling labels from the sanitation department to label your new bins. If you live in an apartment building or townhouse you can ask your manager what you need to do to recycle. Remember, some items, like polystyrene foam, cannot be recycled in curbside recycling programs.
What Is Polystyrene Foam and Can It Be Recycled?
Polystyrene foam is a plastic that is petroleum-based and made from the styrene monomer. Most people know polystyrene foam as “Styrofoam”. It was created for use as insulation in homes since it is moisture resistant, but is also found in many common household items. Most polystyrene foam items can be recycled, with the exception of food and beverage containers.
What Common Household Items Contain Polystyrene Foam?
Polystyrene foam, or Styrofoam, is found in take-out boxes, packing peanuts, foam egg cartons, protective packaging found in electronic boxes, coffee cups, Styrofoam cups, plates and bowls bought at grocery stores and some other household items.
How to Recycle Polystyrene Foam
There are a few different options for recycling polystyrene foam. You can take it to a polystyrene foam recycling center, send it in the mail to an organization like The Alliance of Foam Packaging Recyclers or you can simply try and reuse the polystyrene foam on your own.