September 2020: Recycling

And now we come to the last of the three R’s: recycling! While this isn’t as good as reducing or reusing — recycling uses energy in transport, the recycling itself is very energy-intensive, and some of the material is wasted — it’s better than sending all of it to a landfill! So be sure to learn what you can recycle in your area, because knowledge is POWER, MWAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!! 

And also because if you put non-recyclables with the recyclables, the recyclables will not get recycled because they are “contaminated.” ???? A lot of people put things in the recycling bin either hoping it is recyclable or guessing that it is, which is called wishful recycling. This is one of the big reasons many things we recycle aren’t getting recycled. Here are three things you can do to avoid wishful recycling:

•Clean containers before recycling (make sure they are dry before putting them in the recycle)

• Don’t bag your recycling in trash bags or put it inside other recycling (items need to be separate)

• Separate different materials, like plastic windows from envelopes and lids from containers made of a different plastic or material

This is a tragic thing to learn, but a lot of stuff you thought was recyclable actually isn’t. Here is the dreadful truth of a few things you can’t recycle:

•Anything that doesn’t fit the three guidelines above (clean; different materials, including different types of plastic, separate)

• Shredded paper and other pieces of paper smaller than a large sticky note (these clog the machines) — but if they don’t have glue or paint on them, you can compost them!

• Other tiny scraps (they also clog machines)

• Plastic bags and other non-rigid plastic (same)

• Glass*

• Waxed paper or cardboard*

Look at your own city’s guidelines for what can be recycled. This is just a general list — things vary between cities, and this is not a comprehensive list. We’ve included recycling guidelines for places near Ann Arbor at the end of the email.

*This is true in many places but not everywhere.

Another really important part of recycling is buying recycled products — if there is no demand for recycled products, then manufacturers won’t make them and recyclable objects won’t go to use.

But fear not! Though recycling was never the panacea we all wished it to be, reducing and reusing will dramatically lessen these troubles! And now that you know what to recycle, it can be recycled! Isn’t that exciting?! ♻️

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