If you’re interested in sustainable living, you know that little things can pop up from time to time and puzzle you. Not everything is as clear-cut as newspapers, glass, and plastic bottles. You might find yourself asking, “Can I recycle that?” every once in a while, and sometimes, the answer is “no.”
Whether an item is simply not recycled in your state or county, or can’t be recycled at all, the question then shifts and becomes, “What do I do with this thing?”
It’s important to dispose of every material as responsibly as possible in order to create a more sustainable world. Some of these items are unavoidable in our daily lives, and getting rid of them responsibly is a part of being a concerned world citizen. It’s impossible to be perfect, but we can all try our best to make sure our trash is under control.
Broken Glass or China
Unfortunately, while glass can be recycled, broken glass and shattered pieces are quite dangerous and cannot be recycled. However, it can also be dangerous for sanitation workers to handle broken glass if you simply dump it in the garbage.
The best way to dispose of broken pieces is to wrap them individually in newspaper or place them in boxes in the trash so they don’t hurt anyone working to dispose of them.
While some counties do actually accept plastic bags in their recycling, that can’t be said for everywhere. First, check if your township recycles plastic bags. If they don’t, many local grocery stores will actually take them back to reuse or recycle so they can get a new life and not end up in a landfill. Look around for a place to put them, or ask an employee about their policies.
Plastic Bottle Lids
Contrary to popular belief, you do have to remove the lids of plastic bottles before you recycle them. Since they’re made from a different type of plastic from the bottle itself, the recycling process is different. Most times, these caps need to go in the garbage unless your county or township advises otherwise. You can, however, leave the ring of plastic on the bottle when you recycle it.
While we would all probably like to rely on nothing but sustainable energy, the reality is that most of our modern energy solutions still create waste, even if we don’t see it in front of us. Reusable and disposable batteries are both made of materials that can’t be recycled traditionally, but they also shouldn’t be thrown out with the regular trash. They’re unique in their needs and composition, and they need to be handled properly.
Many businesses will recycle batteries and have dropoff points for all kinds of specialty materials. Among other hardware stores, Home Depot has a program that recycles all kinds of batteries, including reusable batteries and acid battery cores.
It might be a bit surprising, but power cords can often be recycled. If your town has an electronics pickup program, you’re set. If not, you might have a chance for your used power cords still.
Often, companies like Apple will have recycling programs for their chargers and cords, so you can sometimes send them right back when you’re through with them. However, you can also take them to an e-waste recycling center or ask your township about how they prefer you to dispose of old electronics.
Time to Get Recycling
When it comes to waste and recycling, not everything is quite so clear-cut. There are unavoidable and unconventional materials, and it’s important to deal with them as responsibly as possible. While every township and county is different, we all must try our best to create a more sustainable community.