Are You A "Wish" Recycler?
Updated: May 2
One bad seed can ruin it for the whole batch! Many times we put items in our recycle can that we wish were recyclable, but are in fact not accepted by the material recovery facility (MRF) in our area! What many don't know is our trash we put in the recycle bin is sometimes just that...trash.
We toss in paper towels, empty chip bags, straws, dog food bags, squeezable food pouches, and more. It all seems like it should be recyclable but the fact is none of these items are! Just because you wish it was, doesn't mean it is an acceptable item for recycle, and these items can cause a whole load to be rejected and sent to the landfill!
In other instances we spend time rinsing your food containers out, remove plastic caps from bottles, break down carboard boxes, and do everything we can to make sure we are only putting in items that are truly recyclable, but then you put all of it in a plastic trash bag and put it in your recycle container. Your local trash removal company picks it up for transfer and heads to the MRF, and that single bag causes the entire truck load to be rejected as well! Plastic bags are NOT able to be processed, and can cause production at the MRF to shut down completely! The machinery that sorts and processes your recycle consists of conveyers, motors, and screens that plastic bags can get caught and jammed up in. When a snag happens all production halts while they clear out the bags.
Three Most Important Steps to Follow When Recycling
1). RINSE all your food and drink containers well! One food encrusted container can contaminate a whole load! Don't worry too much about drying. In Colorado's climate the water from rinsing tends to dissipate quickly, but in areas with high humidity you may want to check with your local facility's recommended practices.
2). DON'T BAG IT! Plastic bags such as trash bags and grocery bags are not recyclable and can get caught in the sorting equipment and cause a facility shut down.
3). DON'T BE A "WISH" RECYCLER Be sure to check with your local facility to make sure those items you are putting in your recycle bin are accepted! Food pouches and pizza boxes are common items that are not recyclable because of the food residue that remains. You may think it should be recycled, but having a whole truck load rejected in hopes they will take it is not the answer.
NEED MORE INFORMATION ON RECYCLING?
Be sure to check with your local Material Recovery Facility. In Colorado Springs, Co, our local MRF offers tours and educational programs for the public. (Make sure to check with them for covid-19 restrictions). Local companies who pickup your waste aren't always the best authority on the matter, as the MRF is who regulates what is or isn't acceptable items. You can also visit your local government sites, who usually have state regulations and links provided on recycling standards for the state.