When it comes to sustainable living, recycling is one of the top practices on our lists. It’s common knowledge that paper, plastic and cans are separated, but there are some household goods that may not have a place in your recycle bin. Being aware of what your city’s recycling procedures are gives you the opportunity to repurpose materials that would have otherwise been sifted in with the garbage. Here is a list of common household products that you may want to think twice about before tossing into your recycle bin:
1. Aerosol cans: Sure, they’re metal. But since spray cans also contain propellants and chemicals, most municipal systems treat them as hazardous material.
2. Brightly dyed paper: Banning brights from your recycles is common in most municipal systems. Strong paper dyes work just like a red sock in your white laundry.
3. Ceramics and pottery: Recycling your ceramics, mugs, and pottery is possible, but probably not in your recycle bin.
4. Household glass: Tossing windowpanes, mirrors, light bulbs and tableware with the recycles is generally discouraged. Bottles and jars are usually fine, and compact fluorescent light bulbs are recyclable.
5. Juice boxes and coated cardboard drink containers: Checking the labels is important before tossing these goods. Many of these are not recyclable, and items that are will be labeled.
6. Napkins and paper towels: Composting these is a better option because of what they may have absorbed.
7. Plastic screw-on tops: Disposing of these separately from recyclable plastic bottles is usually preferred.
Check your local municipal system for specific recycling directions, and remember that just because it can’t go in the bin, doesn’t mean it can’t find a home somewhere else. Being aware of your area’s recycle procedures is a great way to be environmentally friendly, and live a more sustainable lifestyle.