What Can & Can’t Be Recycled

Please note, this post is over 3 years old and may contain broken links, outdated views and cobwebs.

All too often, I notice non-recyclable items in the recycling bin here at work, and vice-versa. There are lots of different types of food containers/wrappers, and it’s not easy to keep track of which ones can be recycled and which can’t. Call me a hippie if you want, but it bums me out to see red plastic cups in the trash, knowing that they’re all just gonna end up in a landfill.

Anyway, I’m not creating this blog post to be preachy or anything. I wanted to share a handy little chart/graphic (mini infographic?) thing that I made for the Wpromote office. In environmentally conscious fashion, I printed a bunch of these out and hung them above all of the trash/recycling bin areas in the office. It’s a quick and easy reference, so when someone isn’t sure if they can toss that stack of junk mail into the recycling bin, they can easily check.

Recycling chart - what types of food wrappers and containers can you recycle?

I actually learned a few things about recycling while putting this together. I didn’t realize that if a recyclable item has food on it, it’s not recyclable. Food is one of the worst contaminants in the recycling process, and some estimates put the costs of irresponsible contamination in the neighborhood of $700 million per year industry-wide. So that pizza box that’s covered in grease? You can’t recycle it.

Anyway, I’ll step off my soapbox now. Feel free to print this thing out and spread it around!

Please note that my research was done for recycling in the greater Los Angeles area. The things you can recycle in your area may be slightly different.

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One Response to What Can & Can’t Be Recycled

  1. pmstr
    November 2, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    I run the IT department for a demolition company and you wouldn’t believe the stuff that gets recycled there. Obviously, coppers and precious metals are recycled, but even wood, old fixtures, toilets, bathtubs, and several items are considered “salvageable”. Recycling is an important process we need to implement in our lives as soon as possible.

    Preach on, John.


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