What you can and can’t recycle in Southern Utah
I’m often surprised when I check packaging to see if it can be recycled. Once my wife got horses, the cats just started showing up in our barn and now a few have made it into our house. But I’m shocked when I look at the package for kitty litter and find the bags are not recyclable. Do the people at the factory know that most pet owners are ecologically minded? In looking into what can and can’t go in the recycling bins – both community and curbside, I’ve learned a few things. Here’s the YES/NO on common recycling questions:
Pizza boxes – NO. Sometimes the top and sides are OK but that grease soaked bottom is a NO. And when you throw the whole box IN, the whole box has to be thrown OUT by the recycler.
Tires don’t go in any recycle bin. Most tire shops send old tires back to the people they buy new tires from but as a rule, consumer recycling of tires is better left to the tire shops.
Old TVs are full of chemicals that can’t be easily recycled but shouldn’t go in the trash to the landfill either. Take a minute to look up who will take our old TVs and other electronics. Refrigerators and freezers too. If you take them to the dump, they crush this stuff with a bulldozer and that Freon can’t be captured. That’s a bad thing. Find the pros and talk to them about the process.
Old oil, paint, cleaning supplies and such can’t be recycled at regular sites but also shouldn’t be in the trash. Look up hazardous waste. Paper products might surprise you. Office paper is easily recycled and most magazines or mail are good but paper napkins, paper towels and toilet paper are a no. Toilet paper shouldn’t have even been a question but, NO.
Plastics are OK and the real crime is that about 5% of all the plastic we used gets recycled. When I read-up on this stuff, I found that bottles, jugs, tubs and all are OK to recycle. You just have to follow the basic rule of recyclers and that is it must be “Empty, clean & dry”.
If you’ve been removing the labels from the cans from last nights dinner, you can stop doing that. Be sure the food is removed completely because Spaghetti Os can’t be recycled but the cans – label and all – can be.
I've developed a hatred for plastic grocery bags. Most grocery stores have a receptacal to return them but switch to reusable canvas bags or get a bin. They're great. All of this may be an inconvenience but just remember, some of our creatures are depending on us to get this right. And it's worth it.
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