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Is It Or Isn’t It Recyclable?

Is It Or Isn’t It Recyclable?

Here at The YEARS Project we’ve done hundreds of stories on the climate crisis. When we decided to do a video on recycling we learned we’ve been recycling the wrong way for years. Here’s what is recyclable. And what isn’t. More or less. Ketchup bottle? It is. But only if it’s clean. You don’t have to make sure it’s spotless, because recycling facilities wash this stuff too, but make sure it’s not still full of product. Otherwise it’s trash. The plastic variety? Yes. As long as it’s clean. The cardboard kind is too. But you have to recycle it with your paper. So what about the styrofoam one? Yes, in some places. But typically no. Whatever you do, don’t put it in your recycling. Even better, don’t use styrofoam at all. Plastic wrap? Unfortunately not this. This can jam the recycling machinery. Yes, unless there’s a #3 on the bottom. Just rinse it out first. Broken glass? No. Paper with staples in it? Yup. No need to remove the staples either. Bright idea, but unfortunately not. But energy efficient light bulbs
can go to a recycling center. Peanut butter jar? Yes. But just rinse that puppy out. Yogurt container? Same here. Just rinse it out. But don’t forget
to take the foil off first. Tin foil? Yes, if it’s clean. This one isn’t recyclable. Yes, recyclable! But don’t put it in with your paper and cardboard. Put it with your other recyclables. You don’t even need to remove the plastic spout. Take-out container? Yep. As long as it’s clean. Look for the
number on the bottom or side. That number tells recycling centers
what type of plastic it is. But not all cities recycle all numbers. Double check which numbers your area recycles on your local .gov website. Is it? Or isn’t it? Yes. But it’s better if you remove the tape first. Newspapers. If you still read these, yes. Even the glossy inserts can be recycled. Yes, in NYC – but check your local municipality. Surprisingly, it depends. Some cities like New York allow it, but these can damage recycling
equipment in other cities. But usually you can take them
to scrap metal recycling facilities. Plastic straw? Nope. They kill sea animals and birds. Plastic cutlery? Double nope. Not in your home recycling bin. But call the place where you bought it. Many stores will recycle old computers. Same with these. Just Google to find out who in
your area will take them. Empty English muffin container? Yes. This part is recyclable. As long as it’s clean. Put it in your paper recycling. And this is too! But not
in your regular plastic recycling. Most major supermarkets will take it and recycle it. Or you can just re-use it. Pizza box? Only if it’s really clean. If it’s got food or grease on it, throw it away. Nope. Toothpaste tubes are made from
a variety of materials fused together, which means that facilities can’t process it. Ceramics. No. Most recycling centers just can’t melt it down. So consider fixing it or giving it away. Mayonnaise jar? Yes, for sure. Just rinse it out and replace the lid on the jar. Even if you’re hungover, you
can put all this in the recycling bin. Even if there’s a cork or a metal ring, it won’t ruin the batch. But it is better for the recycling
machines to remove the cork. Batteries. Not usually. Better just to trash them. Or buy rechargeables. Pringles can? No. Between the cardboard and the metal it’s just too many materials for recycling centers. And if you’re not sure, just do an Internet search for your municipality. This may seem like extra work.
But once you know, you know. And it’s for a really important reason. Why are we telling you all of this? Because we currently only recycle 34%
of everything we could be recycling. We could be recycling
a full 75% of America’s waste. That would be the carbon equivalent of removing up to 50 million cars
from U.S. roads each year. We’re in New York City, so not all of this may be applicable for you. Please check what’s recyclable in your area, because it may be different than what you see here. And now you know how. But the single best way to recycle? Create less waste to begin with. Remember, one of the best things you can do about the climate crisis is to talk about it. So if you thought this information was important please remember to share with your friends and like, comment and subscribe.

6 comments on “Is It Or Isn’t It Recyclable?

  1. I'm a big recycler myself but one of the biggest ones that you didn't cover are those padded shipping envelopes. I know the full plastic ones can be mixed with plastic bag recycling (paper labels removed) but what about the ones that are a combination of bubble wrap and paper? I think this would be a good thing to cover especially with the rise of online ordering.

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