If you are anything like me, you may ask yourself this question while holding a pizza box, gift wrapping paper, or a plastic container. Let’s face it – recycling can be confusing. It seems like a good first step to increasing our own personal sustainability though, so let’s discuss the dos and don’ts to recycling in Denver, Colorado to better understand what is recyclable.
Do make sure your recycled items are clean! It is important that the items you recycle are free of food and dried, but they don’t need to be absolutely spotless. The goal it to have most residue removed as to avoid contamination.
Do check what number is marked on your container. If you have a purple Denver recycling bin, numbers one through seven indicated on plastic containers are acceptable which may include shampoo bottles, plastic tubs, to-go plastic cups, and milk jugs. Check with your recycling company to ensure you’re recycling the proper numbers as certain jurisdictions do not allow to-go or other types of plastic containers.
Do pay attention to lids. For Denver’s purple recycling bins, large metal lids from glass containers can be recycled, but they must be separated from the container while caps and lids for plastic labeled #1 through #7 should be put on their respective container.
Don’t Do That!
Don’t assume all plastic is recyclable. Plastic used in plastic wrap, sandwich and freezer bags, and bubble wrap should not be mixed in with your recycling. Try to reuse these items whenever possible or consider purchasing a reusable alternative like washable storage bags or tupperware.
Don’t mix plastic bags in with your recycling. Loose bags like those from the grocery store are generally not accepted. Try finding a place nearby like your local grocery store to take those bags. Do not bag your recyclables, but rather put them directly into the container.
Don’t throw in used items like tissues, paper towels, napkins, or packing peanuts. If possible, compost the paper towels. Consider, also, taking items commonly used for shipping like packing peanuts to a shipping store if they will take them for reuse.
More Food For Thought:
Consider putting recycling in other rooms. Although you may have recycling in your kitchen like most, many people do not recycle all that they can. By having different places to store your recycling throughout your home, more items may be recycled and your household’s awareness and commitment to responsible recycling may increase.
Be cognizant of your shopping habits. If you generally purchase goods that come with a lot of non recyclable waste and packaging, consider changing your habits by shopping somewhere with less packaged alternatives.
Consider sustainable alternatives. Rather than continuously buying sandwich bags or straws that will end up in the landfill after a single use, consider investing in sustainable and reusable options like resealable, washable bags, metal straws, or reusable bags for the store.
Things to check out:
Check out this Waste Management guide that was utilized in formulating this list if you want to read further on the facts and myths of recycling.
Find an easy-to-access resource to check what is recyclable in your area, like Earth 911 which has helpful information on how and where to recycle.
Find specific information on your recycling provider; for instance, Denver Recycles “Your Guide to Easy Recycling.”