Get Familiar With Recycling: What Can & Can’t Be Reused And Other Options


People and municipalities across the world are recognizing the importance of recycling in the effort of curtailing the negative effects of pollution. However, recycling technology and the administrative scope of governments make some products very hard to recycle. For a citizen, it is up to them to determine which products can be recycled by their municipal government or waste management company. What can’t be recycled is then the citizen’s responsibility to reuse in some practical way or to go to a third party for safe recycling. Here are some tips and options most people can follow.



Paper is typically the most common product that can be recycled by a municipality or waste management company. Whether a person has a bin for papers or if the recycling barrel can store paper with other products, one can dump everything from white office paper to the paper that makes up catalogs. If the paper is within a soft or hard covering, it is advisable to remove that cover so only the paper is recycled.



Like paper, most cardboard is recyclable for municipal or waste management services. It is advisable to break down cardboard to its smallest parts. That way, the cardboard is easier to recycle in the machines.



Glass that typically contains food, as long as it is washed out, can be recycled.



Plastics that contain food or liquids, as long as they are clean, can be recycled.



Metals are a material that most people are not sure how to recycle. But there are a lot of different options besides getting thrown away. No matter where you are located, from Seattle to New Orleans, scrap metal yards are readily available and will take your unused products. It is a great way to keep metals out of dumps.


What Usually Is Not Recyclable

Any product that will have a waste product or fluid on it, such as a paper towel that wipes up a food stain or a metal paint can, is not recyclable. Anything with a chemical will make it difficult to recycle in most waste management recycling technology. This goes for products that contain chemicals or glasses, such as batteries or light-bulbs.


How to Reuse

Reusing products that one does not feel comfortable recycling can usually be reused for storage products. For example, old cardboard boxes and plastic containers can be reused for storing small items, like tools, to large items, like old clothes and antiques. Paper and plastic bags can be reused again and again, as long as they are not ripped, for one’s groceries and shopping. This can help businesses cut down on purchasing bags and helps one reuse the same product without throwing it away. Finally, all food waste products, which cannot be recycled, can be personally accumulated to make compost. This, combined with mowed grass or raked leaves, can help with a person’s composting.



Certain products can be donated to third parties who will either reuse them or recycle them carefully. For example, technology like computers, microwaves, or car batteries can be brought to a third-party vendor who will specially recycle these products or fix them up to be reused again for other people. Other items can be donated to shelters, survival centers, religious institutions, or libraries, such as old clothes and old books.


Some waste, no matter what, will end up in the garbage. However, one can radically reduce their carbon footprint and how much they take out to the garbage if the recycle and reuse a majority of the products they consume and purchase.