I've been recycling all wrong....have you?

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Paper, plastic, glass, metal...I've been putting it ALL in my recycling bin. I've been patting myself on the back about it, too! But a recent story on WVXU's Cincinnati Edition really surprised me, especially when it comes to plastics. You see, what each recycling facility can accept is determined by what someone else is willing to turn it into. If no one has an end use for those recycled plastics, a facility cannot accept them to recycle. The story led me to Rumpke's website, where I found a list of all recyclable materials they accept. Even if your trash and recycling is collected by another company in the tristate, odds are, your recycling ends up at a Rumpke facility, so the list is still very useful. Sour cream, yogurt, and butter tubs don't make the cut...

But here is what does:

·      Glass Bottles & Jars (all colors)

·      Metal Cans: Aluminum cans, steel cans and lids, empty aerosol cans with the lids and tips removed

·      Plastic Bottles (empty, crush, reattach lid): Bottles and jugs that have a small mouth and wider base, such as milk jugs, soda bottles, laundry detergent bottles, water bottles, shampoo bottles and    contact solution bottles

·      Paper: newspaper, magazines, cardboard, mixed office paper and envelopes, paperboard (cereal boxes), pizza boxes free of food debris and grease, telephone books and catalogs

·      Cartons: food and beverage cartons, such as milk, juice, soup, wine, broth and other cartons.

Notice the specifications on plastics. Again, the sour cream, yogurt, and butter tubs are not recyclable in this area. Neither are those clam shell containers that hold salads or other takeout foods. The rule of thumb is that if the mouth of the plastic container is not smaller than the body of the container, it is not recyclable in this area. While I'd been tossing almost anything and everything plastic into my recycling bin (thinking I was helping the planet), I was making it more difficult for the recycling facility.

In addition to the list of acceptable items to recycle, Rumpke also offers some tips that can help both you and them:

·      Mix all items together – no separation required

·      Empty all bottles, jugs and cans

·      No need to remove labels

·      For plastic bottles, empty, crush and reattach lids

·      For cartons, remove plastic caps and straws

·      NEVER place medical sharps or needles in the recycling

·      DON’T use plastic bags

And of course, here is their list of items NOT for recycling:

No plastic bags, cassette tapes, bed sheets, hangers, metal chains, garden hoses, batteries, needles, syringes, electronics, polystyrene foam, buckets, butter tubs, car parts, food, yard waste, light bulbs, drinking glasses, ceramics, pots, pans, and scrap metal.

Not sure if something is recyclable or where to take it? Find out by using Hamilton County Recycles materials search. Make sure your good intentions count!