If you’re like me, you probably wonder as you get ready to toss an empty drink container, food package, or stack of junk mail whether it should go in the trash can or in the recycle bin; and what actually happens to it after it gets picked up and recycled.
I recently checked as many of the local recycling websites as I could find to get an idea of what can be recycled and what that means. The following information is excerpted from the material on the Republic Services website (our area’s main trash and recycling pickup provider). I think they did a pretty good job of explaining the basics.
- Aluminum Cans: Aluminum can be recycled indefinitely. Your recycled cans will be reused to make new cans and aluminum foil.
- Metals: When you recycle tin or steel cans and other metal, nearly all of it can be reused to make products such as cookware, construction materials, electronics or even bicycles.
- Paper: Recycled newspaper and other paper products can become new books, egg cartons, building insulation, boxes, kitty litter, sheetrock and even kitchen countertops.
- Cardboard: Cardboard boxes and packaging are easily made into new boxes and other cardboard products, while using 70% less energy than using raw materials alone.
- Glass: It is actually easier to make new products from recycled glass than from the raw materials. When you recycle glass, it’s used to make new bottles and fiberglass.
- Plastics: After sorting, recycled plastic can be used for carpeting, backpacks, fleece jackets, play sets, plastic decking, containers and more. Much of what we use every day is made from recycled plastics.
When you’re at the Market, or other public venues, always look for the recycle bins, (at the BRFM they’re at our recycling booth next to the information booth), and read the signage on them to determine what to put where. I’ve adopted the motto “Think before you throw away and read/remember before you recycle”!