Do you ever find yourself approaching your recycling bin and asking yourself, "is this item even recyclable?" or "how in the world do I recycle this?" If you have, it means you think before you toss, which is important in the recycling world. There are a couple of rules you should remember to make recycling easier and to achieve higher recycling rates. The next time you find yourself questioning what you're recycling, keep in mind the Golden Recycling Rules listed below.
Golden Rule #1: Sort Your Materials By Stream
You may be used to single-stream recycling, where all your materials are collected in the same bin or bag. While this may be the simpler process, it leads to contamination and low recycling rates. Unlike single-stream, clean-stream collection keeps your materials separate from one another, and results in higher recycling rates. We recommend sorting your materials by the following streams: Cardboard, Mixed Paper, Compost, and Commingled.
Golden Rule #2: Know What's Accepted In Each Stream
Now that you know that it's important to separate your recyclables, you must remember to differentiate between what's recyclable and what's not. Some items that seem recyclable can actually contaminate the whole load, like a greasy pizza box. If you need a reminder of which items you should recycle and which ones belong in your waste bin, check out our post called Get To Know What To Toss.
Golden Rule #3: Rinse & Dry Your Recyclables
Rinsing and drying your cans, bottles, jars, and containers can go a long way in keeping them valuable. We want to make sure yesterday's lunch stays out of the recycling bin. You don't need to go crazy washing your containers, but a good rule of thumb is to thoroughly rinse them with water, make sure all of the contaminates are out, and then dry them. At the recycling plant, clean containers are worth more than dirty ones.
Golden Rule #4: Don't Unknowingly Toss Your Recyclables
Don't confuse your recycling bin and trash cans as one in the same. We don't want your valuable materials being sent to landfill, and we also don't want trash ending up in your recycling containers. One piece of trash can contaminate the whole load and make all your materials non-recyclable. Don't know whether an item is recyclable? Ask your waste-hauler or get in touch with us.
Golden Rule #5: Break Down Your Cardboard
Bulky, unbroken cardboard leads to a lot of air occupying space in your container(s). This leads to more frequent pickups and more expenses. It’s best practice to break your cardboard down to optimize the space in your container(s) and reduce the amount of pickups your business requires. Find out how to properly break down your cardboard here.
Golden Rule #6: Strategize Your Set-Up
Last but not least, it's important to strategize your waste set-up so your employees recycle as much as possible. Set up bins next to desks, in break-rooms, copy rooms and anywhere else you believe waste is produced in the office. Need some help getting started? Feel free to reach out to RoadRunner and one of our waste and recycling experts will be happy to talk to you.
Thanks for checking out our blog! Let us know of any recycling rules your office always follows in the comment section below.