Healthy Living

What Can You Recycle?

To my beloved children,

Despite the fact that you have lived in my house for most/all of your lives, during which time I have consistently demonstrated effective recycling behavior, there seems to be some residual confusion about what you can can and cannot recycle.

It’s complicated, I get it.

From the time you were small, the a profusion of different materials has exploded exponentially and therefore you were required to continuously improve on your knowledge.

This is a problem for all of us — that’s why we have that giant plastic trash slick in the middle of the ocean and microplastics in our fish. And it’s why so many people actually wishcycle when they think they are recycling.

But given the fact that I have spent so much time and effort sharing information with you and even did two TEDx talks about it — you did watch at least one of those, right? — I am curious as to your choices.

For example, why do you still insist on dropping flexible plastic in the blue bin — and buying drinks in plastic that you leave in the cupholder when you borrow my car?

I thought it might be helpful to share a bit about what can and can’t be recycled in our zip code. Just some friendly information — no pressure!

Yes, You Can Recycle

YES: Rigid plastics with the numbers 1, 2, or 5 stamped on the bottom. These include water bottles (but please don’t buy those), to-go containers (there are reusable containers in the cupboard), and yogurt tubs.

YES: Clean paper, but if it’s an envelope with a glassine window, you have to take that out first and throw it away.

YES: Glass, all of it — even broken! (But not wine corks.)

YES: Cardboard, but peel off the tape first.

YES: Aluminum, try to form it into a ball.

No, You Can’t Recycle

NO: Anything contaminated with food — like jars or bottles that haven’t been rinsed. Pizza boxes go in the green bin, not recycling.

NO: Styrofoam. Just avoid this stuff like the plague.

NO: Black plastics (the sorters at the recycling facilities confuse them with the conveyor belt).

NO: Flexible plastic, like mailers, tape, etc.

NO: Mixed materials — if that yogurt tub is lined with a flexible plastic wrapper (looking at you, Chobani) you have to remove it first.

Remember, I Love You (And The Planet)

Happy to discuss!


 With that said, I thought it might be helpful to share a bit about what you can and can’t recycle in our zip code. Just some friendly information — no pressure!
Yes or no? You tell me.

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