Recycling provides the raw materials needed to manufacture new products that are consumed every day. The paper, plastic bottles, jars, and metal cans placed in recycling bins are sorted and shipped to manufacturers in the U.S. and around the world. But the task of washing recyclable material is up to each household and business rather than our local recycling center. Only clean recyclables will meet strict new standards and have a chance to be used to create new products.
What can you do to help sustain a healthy recycling system in our community?
Keep items clean and dry. Materials soiled by liquids or food are not acceptable for making new products. Because recyclables are mixed into one bin, it’s important for cans and food containers to be rinsed and free of residue in order to keep the paper products clean. Any remaining food on containers can become moldy and rancid, creating an unhealthy environment for the recycling workers who handle the materials. Items that are not rinsed cannot be recycled.
Recyclables should be placed loose in household recycling carts. Neither bagged materials nor plastic bags of any type belong in the carts. Bags of recycling must be opened by hand and often appear to be bags of garbage to the recycling workers, increasing the chance that they could end up in the landfill. Also, torn or loose bags get tangled in the equipment at the recycling facility, creating maintenance delays that slow the process and make recycling more expensive. Please note that plastic bags can generally be returned back to the grocery store for recycling. For more information about the recycling program, contact the City’s Environmental Services Division at 510-494-4570 or visit the Environmental Services webpage.