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Recycling Myths, Busted.

We're busting some of the top recycling myths that you may have been wondering about to help your business recycle more successfully.

Shelby Bell | March 18, 2020


Pop quiz time: Are bottle caps recyclable? Do materials need separated for recycling? Will biodegradable items decompose in landfill? Chances are, these questions have been brought up at your workplace before. We get it; recycling can be confusing, and sometimes it can seem impossible to find reliable answers to these questions. That's where RoadRunner comes in! In this post, we bust some of the top recycling myths that you may have been wondering about to help your business recycle more successfully!



FACT: No matter where you look on the internet, you may find different answers to this question. Most of the cap confusion originates from the fact that the bottle and the cap are made from two different types of plastics. To put this debate to rest, The Association of Plastic Recyclers confirmed that as technology has advanced, most recycling facilities can recycle the plastic caps along with the bottle. To be safe, always check with your local service provider to ensure your community accepts plastic caps before you recycle them!




FACT: Many recycling programs recommend the single-stream recycling method, which involves collecting all recyclables in the same container. In theory, this method yields higher recycling rates, but in reality, sorting your materials is what keeps them valuable, clean, and recyclable. Susan Collins, director of the Container Recycling Institute, claims that about a quarter of single-stream recycling goes to landfill. To keep your materials recyclable and out of landfills, sort your materials by stream (Cardboard, Paper, Commingled, and Compost) into separate containers.



MYTH: pizza boxes are recyclable

FACT: Many pizzas come in recyclable corrugated cardboard boxes, but most have become stained with grease and oil, which can't be removed from the fibers during the recycling process. If your cardboard recycling bin becomes contaminated with grease or oil from the pizza box, the entire load will be sent to landfill. Before recycling clean cardboard, tear off the contaminated parts of the pizza box and place it in the trash.



MYTH: The recycling symbolS on ALL plastic containers means it's recyclable

FACT: The Society of the Plastic Industry implemented the Resin Identification Coding System to specify the type of plastic a particular product is made with, but the symbols do not necessarily indicate whether the item is recyclable or not. Understandably, many consumers find the plastic recycling symbols to be very misleading. Luckily, learning how to identify the symbols can offer valuable information, including how to dispose of the type of plastic correctly, what kind of plastic it's made from, and whether it's biodegradable. Check out our post to learn how to read the plastic symbols here.



MYTH: If you're not sure wHETHER an item is recyclable, you should put it out for recycling anyways

FACT: Some items that may seem recyclable can contaminate an entire batch of recycling. If you're not sure whether to recycle the item or not, it's best to do some research online or ask your service provider for more information. Otherwise, place that material into the trash. You don't want one non-recyclable item to contaminate the rest of your recycling.



MYTH: Biodegradable items will decompose in landfill

FACT: Biodegradable items break down aerobically (with oxygen), but most landfills are anaerobic (without oxygen) because trash becomes compacted so tightly. Because many people believe their materials will decompose in landfills, they don't bother to dispose of them correctly. Even though the materials are technically biodegradable, trash entering the landfill will never fully decompose. Always do your best to recycle or compost your biodegradable materials. For more information, learn about RoadRunner's composting services here.


When it comes to recycling, the more you know, the more you can successfully recycle! In the comments below, let us know if you have any recycling questions or myths you need us to bust. Or, feel free to reach out to one of our recycling experts. Thanks for reading with us!



Let's get the conversation started on how to drive recycling and cost savings for your business.