Recycling contamination could damage recycling equipment, pose a safety hazard to recycling workers, reduce the value of recyclables, or disqualify recyclables from being recycled altogether. Here are some recycling best practices to keep in mind:
1. Keep it simple. Focus on the basics: glass and plastic bottles and containers, metal food and beverage cans, paper, and cardboard.
2. Keep plastic bags and plastic wrap out of the recycling cart. Your recyclables must be loose—do not bag them! Recycle your plastic bags at your local grocery or retail store if they accept them.
3. Know what doesn’t belong in your recycling cart including plastic bags, clothing, food waste, yard waste, electronics, and hazardous materials.
4. As a general rule of thumb, if it seems like it could get tangled (think garden hoses, wire hangers, strings of lights, etc.,) it shouldn’t be recycled.
5. Make sure your recyclables are clean and dry! Rinse bottles and containers before putting them in the cart as food residue or water can ruin perfectly good paper and cardboard.
6. When in doubt, throw it out. If you question whether something can be recycled, don’t place it in your blue cart.