Recycling. We all know about it, maybe some of us even do it. But it can be a confusing process! We’ve put together a blog post to help determine the can and can nots* of what is recyclable. If your operation isn’t recycling friendly, consider changing your tactics. Not only is recycling great for the environment, your business can be more “green” as well as more efficient.
Did you know a regular sheet of computer paper can be recycled 6-8 times? However, once paper is shredded, it can only be recycled once. Paper fibers are broken down in the recycling process, and once paper is shredded, those fibers are likely already too small to be rebuilt into a new form of paper. Bright colored papers also create issues in recycling centers, as a couple pieces of highly saturated color can tint an entire batch.
Plastics are tricky. There are several different types of plastic classes. Some are recyclable and others are not. The class number of plastic is usually imprinted on the bottom of the container. Plastic bags can’t be thrown into the general “plastics” bin because the bags could end up getting tangled and damaging the sorting equipment.
Working late? Pizza is a delicious treat, but the grease actually creates issues in the recycling process of the cardboard boxes. The oils don’t mix well with the solution used to break down the cardboard fibers. Don’t recycle if you see grease spots on the cardboard, throw it away instead.
If your operation doesn’t already recycle, look at trash containers and notice what is being thrown away. Are there several papers, magazines, cardboard, and aluminum cans that could be recycled instead of thrown away? Put recycling bins right next to garbage cans clearly labeled with what should go in there. Educate employees on recycling and what can and can’t be recycled.
*Note: Please check with your local recycling program for what materials your facility is able to handle.
McNatt, Marisa. “What NOT to Put in the Bin.” Earth 911
“6 Steps to Better Business Recycling.” Waste Management