What you should know about recycling
Curbside pickup recyclables from all municipal departments end up at a waste facility. Waste facilities recycle nearly 15,000 tons of material each month. Most waste facilities are automated and do a great job at sorting out these materials automatically. It is usually about 98% accurate in sorting the materials at a high speed.
Aluminum, paper, plastics, and cardboard are most easily recycled. Liquid containers should be rinsed, washing thoroughly is not necessary. Minimal food residue is allowed but nothing with large amounts of food is permitted.
What NOT to throw in recycle
Although the sorting process nowadays is usually done automatically, some waste facilities still employ personnel to sort through the items. These employees must pick these items by hand.
Here are a couple examples of what NOT to throw in the recycle.
Medical Wastes (prescription drugs, biohazard waste, needles)
Medical waste contains blood-borne pathogens and is NOT allowed. Although almost 500 pounds of needles end up at waste facilities every year and the amount continues to increase. When waste facility engineers see these items on the conveyor belts they must do a mandatory shut down and remove the prohibited wastes. This slows down production by almost 50 man hours annually. It is also very dangerous for the engineers being exposed to items such as needles, sometimes they are poked through protective material.
Styrofoam and Pressure Treated Wood
Styrofoam and wood are not recycled. These items are removed and thrown away at the landfill and cannot be recycled.
Flammable liquids and their containers
The oils and flammable liquids that are found in plastic containers are not permitted at recycling centers. Only plastic containers that hold non flammable liquids are allowed, for ex. Water bottles and sport drink bottles.
Oils and flammable liquids are a serious threat and cause problems to our waste facilities. The chemical compositions of the plastics are changed and create flash points.
Clothing not allowed
Do not throw clothing in recycle. Clothing causes issues with recycling machinery, it usually gets tangled up in the machines and slows down production. Instead of throwing it in the trash try to donate clothing to places like Salvation Army and Good Will, plus it is also a tax write off so not only do you get to get rid of clothing safely but you may also get some money back for it!
Compact Disc and DVD Cases are not allowed
These items are usually printed or covered with graphics that are made of hazardous materials (ink, adhesives, etc). Although there is plenty plastic on it, separating it from the other materials is too time consuming. Rather than throw these in regular trash look into donating these to libraries, schools, and thrift stores. They may need to replace broken or missing cases.
Paper Towels, Napkins, and Tissues are not recycled!
Some poor employee at the waste facility needs to pull out all those dirty stained napkins with all types of unknown matter on it. The thought of what can be on dirty paper products is scary. Soiled paper products do not contain any reusable fiber, therefore it is not able to be recycled.
Hard Plastic Toys Not Allowed
Toys made from thick heavy duty grade plastics cannot be recycled. Many toys like these that are shown in the back of the dumpster are pulled from the conveyor and are not recycled.
No drinking glasses
Interestingly enough, drinking glasses are actually made with lead glass which is not the regular recyclable glass type. Usually the safe drinking containers that are safe to recycle are liquor, soda, and many other beverage bottles. Some waste facilities are designed to catch even the smallest particles of lead glass to ensure purity.
Plastic Bags aren’t always the best
Plastic bags can sometimes cause a jam in the machinery. Although they are not quite prohibited sometimes they do create more trouble than good. A engineer usually needs to clear the debris from the machinery at least twice a day. Having to stop decreases production times, usually a recycling sorter machine will sort these items but they are only made to allow smaller waste, the larger debris gets jammed and creates issues.
Diapers can be unpleasant
Diapers are inevitable. Blame the local soccer mom, blame Teen Mom on MTV, Daycare centers, maybe even some Alcohol and poor decisions.
However a diaper manages to cross your path, usually it is not a fresh new one out of the box and carries a very alarming scent. So, whether they are brand new or completely drenched in bodily wastes. They cannot be recycled.
They contain ultra new baby liquid absorbing technology materials (how do moms even put this on their babies bums!?), and even more after a baby eats some Kale and Squash.
Do Not Throw Electrical Cords in Recycle
Electrical cords cannot be recycled and engineers must hand pick these items from the conveyor line. Luckily, the larger electronic retail stores like Best Buy, PC Richards, and HH Gregg provide drop off bins for these items at the front entrance of their stores. No purchase necessary, just go in and drop it off and they are nice enough to dispose of these items at no cost.
No Filled Containers, always empty first
Although containers may be made of plastic they cannot be filled with any materials or liquids. This bottle contains materials inside that cannot be recycled and had to be manually pulled from the recycling line. The container must be empty or it is rejected.
These hangers are made of plastic but they are a combination of different plastics. This combination of plastics makes the hanger harder, it makes recycling difficult by not breaking down properly.
Dirty Food Containers not Allowed
Food should be rinsed out of plastic containers prior to throwing them in the recycle. Food can damage other recyclable materials that are clean. Experts go as far as informing the public to tear off the portion of pizza boxes that with oil.
Container lids must be removed
Lids obstruct the plastic during the recycling process. The lids do not allow the plastic bottles to be compressed properly during the recycling process. Water and soft drink bottles cause many issues because majority of the time the lids are on.
Plastic Packing Bubble Wrap & Aluminum Foil should not go in recycle
The bubble plastic packing wrap, although endless hours of fun to pop they are a complete nightmare for recycle processing. They get tangled in the machinery just like plastic grocery bags so do not throw them in recycle. A simple plastic grocery bag yet so harmless carrying fruits and milk so efficiently can cause hours and hours of delays of recycling processing if tangled in machinery.
Another big item that ends up in recycle often but should not is Aluminum foil. Not aluminum cans and aluminum house siding but just foil. Foil is already process down to its limits is pretty much useless for the recycling process. So yes, please recycle those old stinky tuna cans and Spaghetti O’s but first rinse them.
All things must come to an end
Here this picture shows how recyclables are transported after being sold to several customers around the world. This is the final stage of the recycling process. It is compressed into bails and transported via truck, boat, sea, and air. One man’s trash is another mans treasure?
So where do the recycled items go?
So you may or may not have noticed there are several aisles at your local Walmart or Target filled with paper products like notebooks, printer paper, wide ruled loose leaf, tissues for leaky noses or broken hearts, and ever so gently soft toilet paper for your bum. Yes, these lifesaving products are recycled and sold at your local retail or convenience store.
Steel and tin products are recycled into several items including rebar that is used for construction of concrete projects. Mixed paper products like newspapers, spam flyers and coupons that are sent in the mail are also recycled and made into things like roof shingles and other paper products.
We are proud to provide dumpster rentals and work with haulers that take waste to certified Green Waste Facilities in Baltimore, Omaha, Oklahoma City, Denver, Phoenix, Virginia Beach, Cleveland, and many more cities where we offer our dumpster rental services.
These facilities go over and beyond to make sure wastes are recycled and disposed of as efficiently as possible.
Thank you for reading, we at Dumpstermaxx are always happy to share any useful information to help keep our planet alive, green, and well.