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NewsSouth Florida Families

Is Your Family Recycling Right?

By June 5, 2019 No Comments

Did you know that recycling ONE aluminum can would power a TV for THREE hours?

In Broward and Miami-Dade County, recycling is completely free to participate in and it’s simplified by a single-stream collection that doesn’t require sorting. That means all your recyclable waste can be mixed and collected in the same container!

But, what exactly can be recycled? Each collection zone across the US has different specifications on what can be recycled, so it’s really important to stay informed on how your recycled materials are processed.

DO RECYCLE:

Clean, dry paper products: newspapers, magazines, catalogs, telephone books, printer paper, copier paper, mail and other non-waxy office paper

Cardboard: shipping boxes, cereal boxes, gift boxes and corrugated cardboard

Metals: aluminum (cans and bottles) and steel (cans) food and beverage containers

Aseptic containers: polycoated drink boxes, juice cartons and milk cartons

Glass: glass food & beverage containers (clear, brown and green)

Plastic containers (bottles only): bottles, milk, water, detergent, soda and shampoo
containers (rinse and remove the cap)

Tips for Disposing of Some Tricky NON-RECYCLABLES:
The following items are considered “contaminants” meaning they devalue the integrity of recyclable materials being broken down. When our recycled waste is too “contaminated” it cannot be used to make new products … so it’s really important to sort our waste properly!

Plastic grocery bags: cannot be recycled because they get caught in the machinery used to process recyclables and end up causing damage. If you want to recycle your plastic bags, you may drop them off in the designated plastic bag recycling bins at Publix. Otherwise, reuse the bags you’ve received for other tasks around the house.

Paper soiled with food waste (coffee cups, pizza delivery boxes, etc): cannot be recycled because the oils are a chemically-troublesome contaminant … so they’re just garbage!

Batteries: alkaline or carbon zinc batteries may be disposed of in your household garbage, but others must be taken to your home’s nearest chemical collection center in order to properly dispose of the hazardous chemicals inside.

Textiles: clothes, shoes, bedding, pillows, etc. should be donated in clean, usable condition.

Most plastics: plastic bags, cups, utensils and plates, polystyrene (foam) products, egg cartons and trays, margarine and butter tubs, yogurt cups, and plastic hangers are a common misconception! Plastic waste is a MAJOR environmental issue because it cannot be chemically broken down in nature, so it persists indefinitely. Get creative in finding ways to reuse and repurpose your plastic waste! For example, restaurant take-out containers can be washed and reused to store leftovers.

Specific glass products: window or auto glass, light bulbs, mirrors, glass cookware or bakeware, ceramics are not recyclable; these must be discarded in your household garbage.

Electronic waste and accessories: PCs, monitors, televisions, printer cartridges, keyboards, cell phones, CDs and DVDs cannot be recycled in your household collection bins BUT most cities have sustainable alternatives for e-waste recycling. These devices are made with materials that release toxins when broken down, but specific e-waste recycling decreases the amount of toxins (such as lead, mercury and cadmium) that enter the environment, and allows for the recovery of valuable natural resources (such as gold, copper, and nickel). It takes a lot less energy to recover natural resources from recycled materials than to mine them from the earth, so you’re also reducing the use of fossil fuels and lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Search for e-waste recycling drop off sites in your community to start today!

Compared to having to start from scratch; production using recycled materials conserves natural resources, saves energy, produces less air and waste pollution, releases less greenhouse gases, and diverts waste from landfills. Today, 10% of the average American’s waste is recycled … this simple system can exponentially reduce our environmental footprint as long as we contribute and stay informed!

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