My daughter’s been talking trash all Summer. Funny thing is, I actually learned a lot from her. Don’t worry, I’m not spewing Urban Dictionary slang, but I am looking more closely at the stuff I throw away AND recycle.
My daughter had a summer internship with a major trash hauling company and she gave us all a refresher in Trash 101.
I used to think I knew everything about what could be recycled and what couldn’t, but it seems I’ve been throwing some non-recyclable stuff into our blue bin and it isn’t getting the second life I hoped for.
All this time I thought rinsing out the empty milk container was enough until she told me about ECD; Empty, Clean and Dry.
Yup, everything you put into the recycling bin MUST be totally empty. No leaving that little bit of peanut butter on the bottom of the jar!
Every container has to be completely cleaned out and DRIED before sending it off for a second life.
Unless your town has a compost program, NO pizza boxes or napkins should touch your recycle bin and forget about those plastic and Styrofoam (the worst!) take home containers… those are plain trash thru and thru!
My daughter brought home the 411 on trash and this handy list has made me rethink everything.
It’s a stark reminder that we have a long way to go to get to a zero waste society and we all have to be a lot more diligent about what we buy so it doesn’t end up in the trash.
No more purchasing stuff like veggies sold in those plastic woven bags, plastic wrapping and baggies. No more cosmetic compacts with mirrors inside or anything shipped with Styrofoam plastic peanuts… I just got a delivery with those from a “natural food” company, nonetheless. (Who would’ve thought?!)
I just read an article this morning that is motivating me to get everyone engaged in saving our planet.
According to the Huffington Post, if we don’t act now, by 2030 we will pass the point where we can stop runaway climate change. (LEARN MORE)
Yes, this article has everything to do with making the right investments, but I’d like to think if we all took responsibility for our actions, our combined efforts can help revert the damage we’re causing and reduce our carbon footprint.
I’d like to think that by starting with our trash, we’re actually taking action. So, here’s the 411 on trash. Read it, follow it and if you don’t have a compost program in your town, get one started now!
What Can Be Recycled
- mixed paper, advertisements, direct mail, gift wrap & paper bags
- magazines, catalogs & phone books (Do they still print those??)
- cardboard & boxboard
- soda & beer carrying cases
- glass bottles & jars
- aluminum cans & foil
- tin & steel cans (including empty aerosol cans)
- plastic bottles & containers #1 – #7 EXCEPT #6 (Don’t buy anything with that number!)
- six or twelve pack rings CUT UP! (Remember Lovelace from Happy Feet?)
- milk & juice cartons
What Can’t Be Recycled
- Soiled items like Pizza Boxes, napkins or tissues. These CAN be composted though NOT the icky tissues. Start a program in your town if you don’t have one!!
- Plastic take-out containers, cups, plates, or utensils. Bring your own to the restaurant and have them put your take-out in your own reusable containers!
- Plastic bags and film. (We’ve discussed this in Graduating From Plastic-U.) Buy the beeswax wrap or use the reusable resin bags. They actually work better than that old plastic wrap!
- Styrofoam anything! Refuse to buy anything with this and tell the restaurant or company to STOP using this stuff.
- Disposable diapers or rags. Ok, tons of wonderful alternatives to disposable diapers now that decompose if you can’t bear to use cloth diapers. If you’re good with cloth diapers they actually make great cleaning rags. They’re made from 100% cotton and eventually decompose. Two great uses for the price of one. Who knew?
- Needles or syringes. Hospital waste is an entire topic on its own and one we need to resolve immediately but yeah, NEVER throw these in your trash OR recycling. You can hurt someone!
- Mirrors, window glass, fluorescent or regular light bulbs. OK, most home repair stores recycle old light bulbs. Old mirrors and glass can actually be recycled but they can’t be put into your recycling bin. Call a local glass business and ask if they’ll take it or where you can bring it for recycling.
- Electronic items. Get your community to hold an electronic recycling pick up or ask the local high school to have their sports teams collect electronics for a fund raiser. They can make money and you don’t have to buy that crappy cookie dough!
- Printer or toner cartridges. Bring these to Costco and have them refilled or back to your office supply store to recycle/refill.
- Motor oil, insecticides or hazardous materials. Again, check with your village or town and ask them how to dispose of these or head to your local garage and see if they recycle these containers. Most do!
My daughter learned a lot about trash this Summer and a lot about the environment, the people picking up our trash and the companies hauling it. Her experience taught all of us a lot and made us realize most trash companies would rather be hauling recyclables than actual trash.
There’s a big crisis happening with recycling right now and making sure your recyclables are ECD is more important than ever! LEARN MORE, get involved, do your part and yeah…say HI to your garbage person. They work hard, long hours and a simple hello can make your and their day a lot better.
Be a conscious consumer, support sustainable companies, care what you buy & #CAREWHATYOUWEAR with ME: MAJAMAS EARTH!
– Germaine Caprio, Company Owner & Designer
TO HEAR FROM YOU
Do you have any recycling or composting tips?
Please share your own thoughts with us – let’s get a conversation started in the comments below! Your comment may even win you a free MAJAMAS garment this week!