5 Things You Should Never Recycle

We all know the importance of recycling and the benefits it can provide to our environment. The problem is many people are unaware of which items are recycle-friendly and which are for the trash. As a local North Carolina recycling business, it’s our responsibility to educate businesses concerning what facilities accept and why some items should never be recycled. To assist you in becoming the best recycler, we’ve listed the top five leading items that are thrown into the recycling bin when they belong in the trash.
Pizza Boxes. Out of everything we recycle, pizza boxes have the most common misconception. It’s true they’re made from corrugated cardboard and display the recycling symbols, but what makes them unrecyclable is the grease and cheese from pizza that soils the cardboard. When paper products are recycled, they’re mixed with water and turned into “slurry.” Since water and oil don’t mix, grease causes oil to form on top of the “slurry” and prevents paper fibers from separating from the oils. The oils ultimately ruin a perfectly sound batch of paper products. Soiled paper plates, paper napkins, and paper towels should also be discarded rather than recycled.
Plastic Bags. Just because something is plastic doesn’t mean it is recyclable. One popular misconception is plastic bags from grocery stores. These can get caught in recycling machinery and potentially damage the equipment. Either throw them in the trash or check with your local grocery store to see if they’ll accept your old bags for reuse. You can also check your local school. Some private schools in our Piedmont Triad area reuses them for trash bags at lunchtime.
Shredded Paper. This one is a surprise, isn’t it? Bundles of shredded paper create a problem with recycling facilities because it’s difficult to separate and sort recyclable paper from the non-recyclable material. It can also clog up machinery – not good! Instead, take those shredded documents to a facility that specializes in paper shredding, like us!
Plastic Bottle Caps. Do you regularly recycle plastic bottles such as water, soda, detergent, or something else that has a twist-off or flip-top cap? Start throwing those lids in the trash before recycling! Plastic caps are made from polypropylene (plastic #5) that cannot be recycled at many recycling facilities unless otherwise stated.
Certain Types of Glass. Glassware and ceramics are designed with a higher melting point than other types of glass and cannot be recycled. These would include light bulbs, fluorescent lighting, window glass, mirrors, glass art, and baking dishes.
If you’re already throwing the above items in the trash instead of the recycling bin, great! If one or more of these items were a surprise to you, now is the time to change in your recycling habits. Recycling is a wonderful thing, but we have to be smart about it. Help us spread the word about these items so we can continue to improve our world’s recycling efforts!