No Contamination November

Lets focus on “No Contamination!” this November! 🧔 Time is flying by and the holidays are around the corner. This is a good time for a quick refresher as to what major contaminants are found in our Blue Bins during the holidays and why they are harmful to the recycling process.

FACT: Waste increases by 25% during the holiday season!

Bags, bags and wrap!

  • Plastic Bags: Whether you’re visiting a grocery store or a retail store for shopping, remember to bring your reusable bags in with you to avoid using plastic bags. Another opportunity to lower plastic bag waste is to avoid produce bags at the grocery store. You can skip them all together or invest in reusable produce bags. Did you know that plastic shopping bags have an approximate lifespan of 12 minutes? 😲
  • Paper Bags: Paper bags (and paper gift bags) are recyclable in the Blue Bins and are great for reusing! If you forget your reusable bags at home and opt for paper, you can save them and use them as wrapping paper next month. Find early inspiration on paper gift wrapping here.
  • Plastic Wrap: Whether you’re shopping online or in-store, you might run into some form of plastic wrap. It’s important to know which plastic wraps are recyclable Beyond the Blue Bin at a dropoff location and which ones belong in the trash.
    • The easiest way to tell if your plastic item is recyclable or not is to perform the “thumb test”:
      • Push your thumb into the plastic.
      • If your plastic stretches; you can recycle it Beyond the Blue Bin at a grocery or retail location.
      • If your plastic wrap tears like paper or does not stretch; place it in the trash.

Why are plastic bags and wraps so bad?

Plastic bags and wraps are very detrimental to the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) for several reasons. The machinery is designed to sort items based on their material and original shape and when flimsy, stretchy plastic makes its way to the MRF, it more than likely will get wrapped around the gears which stops the entire sorting process. The only way to get this plastic contamination out and begin sorting the hundreds of pounds of recycling that’s piling up again is to manually cut it out. This is a very dangerous job and takes hours to accomplish!

What types of plastics can we recycle?

Read our blog post to find out! Plastics: What is Recyclable?

What types of plastics can we recycle?

Read our blog post to find out!

Plastics: What is Recyclable?

It’s Time to Start Cookin’ 🤤

When November 1st rolls around, we’ve forgotten all about the Halloween candy and have moved on to thinking about turkey, green bean casserole and stuffing. We’ve talked about reducing produce bags, but there are many ways we can lower our food waste and contamination.

  • Food Contamination: While food is compostable, it is not recyclable in the Blue Bin or even accepted in the Green Waste bin. Items you want to compost must be taken to a private compost facility or residential compost site. You can learn more about composting from our blog post, “Why Compost.”
    • PRO TIP: While doing holiday food shopping at your local grocery store, practice precycling while you are there to help lower your overall waste. Learn how to implement precycling by reading our blog post, “Take Recycling to the Next Level: Precycle!
The packaging on the top row can all be recycled in the Blue Bin.
The packaging on the bottom row can not be recycled.
  • Food Containers: The reusable plastic food containers we purchase for leftovers can be recycled too!  If they’re no longer wanted, just make sure they’re clean and any lids are attached.  The bottom portion can be recycled if the lid is lost, but lids alone cannot be recycled solo because it’s flat.  Ziplock bags cannot be recycled in the Blue Bins either.  Only plastic bottles and containers are accepted.   
    • Clean Ziplock bags can be recycled back at your local grocery or retail store.
  • Styrofoam Food Containers: Styrofoam is one of the largest contaminants found in the Blue Bin! We do not accept Styrofoam of any kind as there is no market to resell it and make into anything new. NO Styrofoam in or Beyond the Blue Bin, please!

    Recycling that is contaminated with food ruins other valuable recycling materials. When recyclables are ruined it makes them unable to be sold and they will unfortunately have to be sent to the landfill. 😞

Shine Bright 🌟

Nothing brings cheer like holiday and Christmas lights! Whether you put up your lights the day after Halloween or the day after Thanksgiving, if you find lights that do not work while unpacking last year’s decorations, do NOT put them in the Blue Bin or the trash! Check back for places to recycle old holiday lights Beyond the Blue Bin!

Thankful for Recycling Responsibly

End the year strong by keeping contamination out of the recycling bins, lowering your food and overall waste and recycling responsibly!

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