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Six Recycling Secrets That No One Told You

Did you know that most people recycle wrong? This leads to recycling going to the trash when, if done properly, could be avoided. Here are six secrets that can help you recycle better. 

Soft plastics cannot go into the recycling bin

What are soft plastics you may ask? Soft plastics are things like plastic bags and bubble wrap. These may have recycling symbols on them but you cannot put them in your bin. Instead, go to your local grocery store, Walmart or Target and look for a big bin to put your soft plastic to be recycled. It is an easy step, and you can just store them somewhere out of the way, and when you get your grocieries put the soft plastics in the bin on your way to shop. 

Recycling should be clean

One important thing to keep in mind when recycling containers is to rinse them out. Things like tin cans and glass jars that held your veggies and pasta sauces need to be cleaned out so they can be properly recycled. It only takes an extra minute, and if you are feeling lazy just send it through the wash cycle in your dishwasher.

Break down your boxes

Living in an apartment, I have realized that many of my neighbors do not break down their boxes. Doing this makes it a lot easier to recycle and gives you more room in the bin for all of your recycling. Another thing to do is take off the plastic tape when recycling. The tape can not be recycled so if you leave it on, your box could be thrown in the trash. 

Sometimes you can’t recycle that paper good

Lots of food comes in paper bags or cardboard boxes like your delivery pizza and your Panera bagel, but if grease gets on that paper good then it can’t be recycled. You can cut that part of the box or bag and recycle the untouched par,t but the main point here is that if there is grease, it goes in the trash. 

  Just because it can be recycled doesn’t mean you should buy it

Items like plastic water bottles can usually only be recycled once, so it isn’t as sustainable as one might think. If you are concerned with sustainability, the best thing would be to get a reusable water bottle, and if you like filtered water then buy a water filter at the store and you will also save more money than spending tons of money every year on water bottles. This goes for other items, too, such as, one-time-use tubberware or cutlery. 

When in doubt, look it up

There is a great resource that no one told me about to figure out all of my recycling questions, so I am letting you in on my secret. If you don’t know how you should recycle a good, then go to how2recycle.info. Also, make sure to look at the recycling label. Many products are getting more detailed labels, so your bottle or can might tell you what to do when it comes to recycling. 

I know that recycling properly can seem daunting and unimportant. Many people will be asking or thinking about how much of an impact they can really make. The important thing to remember is that all change starts small, and by doing your part you are setting an example for others and sharing to the rest of the world, so that everyone can become better at recycling. 

(she/her) Madison Thompson is a junior at The University of Missouri- Columbia and has direct admission into the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism School. She is an older sister and loves to read and write. In addition to Journalism, Madison loves creative writing. Madison has a self-published poetry book titled "The Journey". Her Poem Supermarket was a finalist in the 2019 KET writing contest.
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