Random Recycling Questions

By Andrea Davis on March 7, 2019

We know recycling can be complicated. Knowing what to put in your recycling collection is difficult enough without having to also remember how to prepare the materials. And, unfortunately, there’s a lot of outdated and misinformed information out there. But don’t worry. We’re here to help. Here are our answers to some commonly asked questions about recycling.

Do recyclables really need to be rinsed?
Yes! The recycling process goes a lot smoother if things are clean. For more information on rinsing recyclables, read this.
Are caps and lids ok?
Caps and lids can be recycled. If the cap or lid and container are both the same material, they can stay on. Otherwise, please remove them so the materials can be easily sorted. For example, caps can stay on plastic water bottles and lids can stay on margarine tubs, but metal lids should be removed from glass jars. (Please note, glass recycling is not available in all areas.)
Do I need to remove everything from the inside of my recyclables?
Please remove everything that’s not an accepted material or the same material as the container. For example, cardboard inserts can stay inside cardboard boxes, but foam inserts should be removed and discarded.
Can I recycle napkins, paper towels or tissues?
Nope. Even though they’re made of paper, their fibers are too short to be made into recycled paper. They’re also often contaminated with food debris or other matter.
Is it ok if my recyclables get wet?
Maybe. Many materials will not be damaged by getting rained or snowed on, but the quality of paper, boxboard and cardboard can be compromised when it gets wet. Your best bet is to keep recyclables as dry as possible.
Is everything that has a recycling symbol with a number on it recyclable?
Nope. Number codes on plastics don’t indicate recyclability. (More on this.) And even if an item is recyclable, it may not be recyclable everywhere. The best way to determine if an item is recyclable is to carefully read recycling guidelines and if you’re still not sure, just ask.
Should I put my recyclables in a bag?
If you have curbside recycling or are using a recycling drop-off, please don’t put your recycling in bags. Bags cannot be recycled with your other recyclables and can cause operational issues and damage to equipment. The only exception to this is if you use Blue Bag Recycling. Blue Bag recyclers should put their recycling in blue recycling bags.

Don’t see your question here? Email us at [email protected] and we’ll be happy to answer it.

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