In honor of America Recycles Day, which falls on November 15th each year, here's a list of the items you
should and should not recycle this holiday season.
What's Different about Holiday Recycling?
Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the US sees a 25% increase in the volume of recycled goods, or about 1,000 pounds of extra waste per household, according to Jeremy Walters, Sustainability ambassador for Republic Services, a leader in waste disposal and removal services in America. Think food and beverage containers, gift wrapping, lights, and decorations, and you can see why there is such an increase.
"The good news, though, is that about 80% of it can actually be reused, re-purposed, or recycled," says Walters.
Why is it so important to separate your Recyclables?
It isn't just during the holidays that you should be careful about what you put in your recycle bin. One small piece of errant garbage can cause more harm than you think.
Food and beverage containers that still have liquid or food residue in them can ruin good recyclables, while lights and tinsel can get wrapped around the sorting machinery and cause equipment failure or harm to employees.
Follow this list to recycle responsibly:
Recycle Tips to remember when you aren't sure
If you can poke your finger through the plastic, or it is malleable, don't recycle it. This is the stuff that can clog up the machinery.
Make sure all containers are clean and dry before putting in the recycle bin.
It is actually less expensive and, for the time being, more ecological for glassmakers to create new glass than to recycle it, so make sure any glass is clearly marked with a recycle symbol. If it isn't, it goes in the trash.
When in doubt, throw it out
It is better to put one or two items in the trash than to contaminate other items in the recycle bin.
Happy Holiday Recycling!
Sources: CNBC, Bob Vila, Good Housekeeping