The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP) is the world’s largest collection of floating trash.* While much of the contamination comes from countries that don’t have sound solid waste strategies, there is much more we can do at home, not just on Earth Day but every day.
One of the biggest contributors to the GPGP is plastic, and only 7 percent of plastic in the U.S. is recycled. Here’s a sampling of what your plastics and papers become:
- #1 plastics (water bottles and soft drink bottles) make fabric and carpets.
- #2 plastics (milk jugs and determent bottles) make decking, lumber, fencing and new bottles.
- Papers make copy paper, greeting cards, tissue, paper towels and more.
Our recycling facilities also accept:
- #3 – #7 plastic containers. These include: food, beverage, deli, ice cream, yogurt, cottage cheese, bakery, pill, medicine, and kitty litter containers.
- aseptic boxes and paper cartons: soup, milk, broth, and orange juice
- recycled papers (not shredded)
- aluminum cans (not crushed)
- glass jars and bottles (no window glass)
It’s important not only to recycle, but to recycle the RIGHT way. Here are four common mistakes that impede the recycling process:
- Recyclables in Plastic Bags:When plastic bags are mixed with acceptable recyclable materials, the bags entwine in the machinery and cause downtime to clear the equipment. Because our employees sort by hand, this also creates a safety issue.
- Plastic Toys and Furniture: Plastic toys and furniture are made of different grades of plastic, which all have different melt points. This contaminates the melting process and impairs the equipment. Instead, give your old toys and furniture new love and donate them. You can also take them to your local Transfer Facility to recycle for free. Check your facility page for a location near you.
- Shredded Paper: Shredding paper reduces its size so dramatically that it ends up in the wrong place at recycling facilities. Once it is mixed with glass or residue, it cannot be recovered for recycling. Contact a mobile document destruction service that will take it to their warehouse and bale it for recycling.
- Pizza Boxes: This is one of the most common recycling mistakes. Although pizza boxes are made of cardboard, the grease from the pizza contaminates the raw material. To ensure your leftovers don’t end up in the Pacific, tear off the untarnished parts for recycling.
Every time you recycle, it counts. Thank you for making a difference!