Recycling Made Simple

This fridge-worthy guide will make doing the right thing easier.

You Already Recycle These, But…

    Recycling Made Simple: Papers

  • Most programs take it all, from cardboard to news-print, office paper to envelopes and junk mail.

    But… leave out anything that’s food-stained, like pizza boxes, because oils can contaminate an entire load. Also out: brightly colored, dye-saturated paper, which is too difficult to bleach back to a usable form (glossy magazines can be sold at junk shops but fetch a lower price than non-glossy paper), and books (you’re better off donating to a local library, school, or book drive).

    Recycling Made Simple: Plastic

  • The basic rule of thumb: If it’s a bottle whose neck is smaller than the body (beverages, cleaning products, shampoo, and some food jars) and has a 1 to 2 symbol on the bottom, it can generally be recycled.

    But… remove the caps first — they’re made of a different type of plastic. Items such as yogurt, margarine, deli tubs, and plastic cutlery (usually number 5 plastic) usually aren’t recycled, so consider washing and reusing them instead.

    Recycling Made Simple: Metal

  • All of these belong in the recycling bin: soda, juice, and soup cans (rinsed); washed-off aluminum pie tins and foil; and bottle caps, wire coat hangers, empty (non-punctured) aerosol cans, and other scrap metal.

    But… don’t include batteries or electronics. These need to go in the regular trash.

    Recycling Made Simple: Glass

  • Bottles and jars are good to go once you rinse them and throw away (or recycle) their caps.

    But… treated glass, like broken plates, regular incandescent light bulbs, and window or windshield glass, hat to go in the regular trash.

Explore other avenues, literally

If you don’t have easy access to a recycling program, take inventory of what your family produces the most of, and look for a closer solution. For example, schools might collect newspapers, paper, or cardboard, and charities have bottle drives.

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