If you’re new to recycling, the process can be a little confusing. Some recyclables go in the bin, others go to the recycling center, and some items that look recyclable are actually waste.
All the confusion can lead to items going in the wrong bin, shutting down facilities, or you giving up the idea entirely. But don’t worry, the DumpStor experts are here to walk you through this planet-saving exercise with our latest recycling guide.
In this recycling guide, we’ll go over metal recycling, what goes in the bin, plastics that can’t be recycled, and more. Follow along as we walk you through the world of recyclables or skip ahead to the section you need.
The Recycling Bin
Recycling bins are a quick and easy way to separate your recyclables from your waste and have them removed directly from your home. But not everything can go in the recycling bin.
One of the most important tips for using your recycling bin is to remember that food and other waste cannot be recycled. This means soiled bottles, containers, paper, and cardboard should not be put in your bin. If you’re recycling bottles or containers with food waste, make sure to give them a quick rinse before placing them in your bin.
Another quick tip is that plastic bags are actually not recyclable, so it’s best to put your recyclable items directly into the bin without a bag.
Not following these guidelines can cause quite a few problems at the recycling facility. So, if you’re interested in taking action, try your best to follow the tips above when recycling your items. Let’s move on to what can be recycled in your bin at home.
Bottles & Containers
Recycling bottles and containers is one of the easiest ways to help the earth and the community live a little greener. But before you start throwing every bottle you find in the recycling pile, here’s some advice on how to recycle plastic (or glass) bottles and containers.
- Don’t take off the caps
It used to be common to take the caps off when recycling plastic bottles, but the caps are too small to be recycled by themselves and typically end up in landfills. So, keep those bottle caps on.
- Clean if necessary
Remember, a soiled recyclable is waste. So, if you see some leftover juice or a bit of food stuck in the container try giving it a quick rinse. They don’t have to be spotless, just compost free.
- If you have time: separate
This advice is for our super helpful, overachievers that are heading to a recycling center (if you’re using your bin, it might not be realistic). Separating your plastic recyclable by shape and plastic-type can be super helpful and cut some of the work out for the center. That being said, if you’re using your bin, following the first two bits of advice is totally fine.
Glass bottles and containers are also recyclable! You can easily recycle glass by following the same advice for recycling plastics. But keep in mind that not everyone’s curbside service accepts glass. Before you throw your glass bottles and containers in your bin with plastic recyclables, make sure to check your city’s rules on glass recycling. Of course, you can always drop these guys at the recycling center.
Next on the list of items you can recycle curbside is cans. Recycling cans isn’t limited to your favorite soda either. You can recycle tomato sauce cans, pineapple juice cans, and any other metal can used to keep your favorite foods fresh.
You can even recycle your whip cream bottles! Just be sure to remove any plastic caps first. Just like our other materials, check that all cans are empty and don’t contain any food bits or liquid.
Cardboard & Paper
The last two items on our list of curbside recyclables include cardboard and paper. These two items can be thrown directly into your recycling bin without much work. Just make sure that all cardboard boxes are flattened and have zero food waste.
You can even include food and beverage cartons as long as they don’t have anything stuck to them. This includes juice boxes, milk cartons, and other paper containers. On the other hand, if you have a pizza box from last night’s dinner, throw it in the waste bin. Unfortunately, the food bits can’t be recycled.
Before recycling any paper food containers, check with your city to see if they can be thrown in the bin. Some rules may vary by city and state.
Electronics are a hot commodity throughout the nation. From the latest iPhone to the newest 8K TV screen, we are constantly evolving in the world of technology. Unfortunately for landfills, that means a lot of hazardous waste as we move on to the next big thing. It’s important for the earth, our community, and our own safety that we avoid placing our old devices in the trash though.
All of these devices feature things like lithium batteries and other hazardous materials that can be difficult to break down. While it’s an exciting experience to upgrade, try to do so responsibly by recycling your old electronics. Here are a few e-waste products you’ve probably seen left on the sidewalk that can actually be recycled.
Seen any abandoned TVs lately? Recycling electronic devices like TVs and computer monitors is a great way to keep these items off the street and away from landfills. Other common devices that you probably don’t know what to do with after use include cell phones, tablets, and smartwatches.
All these fun items that run off circuit boards and hard disks can be recycled. Many e-waste centers can remove mercury and other metals from these items through special processes that allow them to be reused. These metals can then move on to exist in medical equipment, automobiles, and more.
Have you ever seen a fridge get thrown away? Seeing freezers and fridges on the sidewalk is probably as common as TVs. If the fridge still works well enough, you might see someone post it for sale on an app or just leave it behind during a big move.
While those last two options aren’t so bad, these items can also be recycled. This recycling job isn’t as simple as placing it in your curbside bin though.
When you have a big move or need to get rid of several large household items at once it’s a great time to call for a dumpster rental. You put your items in the bin, and DumpStor takes care of the rest. If it’s just one fridge or a few appliances, you can recycle them by dropping them off at a transfer station.
There are also a few retailers that offer appliance trade-in programs. An even better option? Donate it! Anything you can do to keep cooling equipment (along with other electronics) out of landfills, the better.
Did you know you can recycle solar panels? When a panel goes out, try to avoid throwing it in your waste bin. Instead, you can take it to a place that specializes in solar panel recycling. In fact, there are companies that are currently trying to further improve the recycling process for these panels to save a lot of those natural resources for repurposing.
These companies won’t just be helping the earth stay green, they’ll also be creating new job opportunities. Recycling your solar panels will help encourage and continue research on the best ways to recycle solar panels.
Other Consumer Electronics
Other e-waste items you can take to recycling centers include batteries, wires, and light bulbs. All of these items have components that would do much better in a facility built to extract precious materials for reuse than in a landfill. When possible, it’s a great idea to consider taking your e-waste to a recycling center or program in your area.
Where To Recycle Electronics
Not sure where to take your e-waste? Here are a few resources that may be in your area. For personal and commercial battery recycling, contact Call2Recycle, Earth 911, or another local e-waste center in your area. These e-waste centers specialize in recycling and responsibly disposing of various batteries consumers use.
For other electronic devices check out your local Best Buy recycling program or Greener Gadgets. You can also find recycling programs for large appliances through your city or local utility organization.
Other items you can recycle through programs or centers near you include metal and textiles. There are plenty of centers that specialize in recycling scrap metals like aluminum, copper, tin, and more. You can even rent a dumpster from a DumpStor location near you, and we’ll recycle your scrap metal for you.
As for textiles like carpets, towels, and old clothing that are too worn out to donate, you can take them to a textile bank in your area or your local goodwill. Both places will take your old clothing items and break them down for reuse. Other places that repurpose clothing items include H&M, American Eagle, and Planet Aid Bin.
Throughout this recycling guide, we’ve gone over plenty of items you can recycle curbside or through a center. But it’s also important to know what can’t be recycled. Here are a few tips on what not to throw in your bin or recycling center.
- Plastics – Just because something is plastic, doesn’t mean it’s recyclable. If it’s not one of the items stated above, make sure to look through the packaging and labels before recycling any plastics. Also, do not recycle plastic bags. A great alternative is to keep them in a drawer for reuse.
- Packaging – Not all packaging is created equal. Though it’s perfectly acceptable to recycle flattened cardboard boxes, packaging that includes flex material, plastic wraps, and wax coating cannot be recycled. You also cannot recycle styrofoam.
- Medical Waste – Medical waste should not be placed in either your waste bin or recycling bin. There are specific guides for disposing of medical waste safely and responsibly. You can find more information on how to safely dispose of medical waste from the EPA.
- Liquids & Compost – Liquids and food waste can drastically slow down recycling plants and cause more recyclables to end up in landfills. Avoid putting dirty diapers or packaging in any kind of recycling.
Recycling with DumpStor
DumpStor is an environmentally friendly dumpster rental company that has the environment’s best interest in mind. That’s why all our 20 Yard Enclosed dumpsters meet EPA regulations and we recycle as often as possible.
Here are a few things we talked about in this recycling guide that you can put in your local dumpster rental from DumpStor.
Recyclables DumpStor Can Accept
When you rent one of our dumpsters you can dump all your old scrap metal and cardboard boxes in the bin. For an extra charge (depending on the location) we’ll also take any household appliances off your hands. Once you’re done filling the bin, we’ll take the bin off your hands and transfer anything we can to a recycling center.
Of course, you can also put any debris or junk from construction projects in our bins as well. Just avoid putting any liquids, paints or hazardous materials in our dumpsters. We also cannot accept propane tanks, batteries, or gas tanks.
How to Recycle with DumpStor
Ready to lose the building cardboard and scrap metal junk? Our environment-friendly approach to junk removal will help you feel great about your green decisions while you clean your space. Learn more about how to rent a dumpster from a DumpStor location near you.