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3 Common Recycling Myths

We all want to contribute to a greener Earth and minimize our carbon footprint. Recycling is where it starts; after all, it takes little effort to separate reusable waste from the waste products that belong in a landfill. With recycling comes an assortment of myths and half-truths that can be easily set right. We discuss some of these misconceptions that, on the surface, may appear legitimate.

Myth #1: Recyclable Items Can Only Be Recycled Once

Some people think recycling is ultimately futile because they believe most recyclable items can only be recycled and reused once.

The truth is that most items can be recycled multiple times. That soda can made from recycled aluminum can be recycled again and reused without a diminish in quality.

It’s true that some material cannot be recycled indefinitely, but most can definitely be recycled more than once. The standard printing paper, for example, contains fibers that degrade with each subsequent round of recycling. The material can be recycled six to seven times before the fibers degrade too much to become useful.

Myth #2: Recyclables Need to Be in Good Shape

Is the water bottle or aluminum can badly crumpled or torn? Some people believe this means they’re no longer in recyclable condition and belong in the waste bin. Some folks even think a water bottle missing its cap is no longer recyclable.

Here’s the truth: the typical recyclable item does not have to be anywhere near its original usable shape to be recycled. The only exception to this is broken glass. Do not toss broken shards of glass into the recycle bin as this can pose a danger to employees who sort out these materials.

Myth #3: Sorting Isn’t Necessary

In some cases, people aren’t sure what is and is not recyclable, so they just toss everything into the recycling bin. The mentality is to just let the workers at the plant sort it out. The truth is that throwing non-recyclables into the recycle container causes many problems. It consumes time for workers who have to sort out the recyclables and non-recyclables by hand. It can also contaminate the recyclable items and damage equipment.

Please refer to your city’s recycle ordinance to determine what items are and aren’t recyclable.

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