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Back to Basics: How to Recycle 101

Back to basics: how to recycle 101

Sometimes recycling is simple. You know how to recycle cardboard boxes or cans, but sometimes it is not so easy. The challenge of recycling is that there is no formal education; usually, this may be what you learned from family and friends.

Did you know that only about 30% of recyclable materials are actually recycled? For consumers and small businesses, this gap is usually due to confusion about what can be recycled and how. If you are not sure if you can recycle something, please don't give up and throw it in the trash!

Earlier this year, to further help address this challenge, Rubicon and its original partners TerraCycle, Commit To Green and Clean River launched the Rubicon Marketplace to help small businesses and consumers use tools and resources to initiate recycling efforts.

In addition, please read through this "Back to Basics: How to Recycle 101" guide. This guide will help you recall how to recycle seven common items such as batteries, plastics, paper, etc. Trust us, you are not the only one who is not sure how to recycle items such as plastic bottle caps or Styrofoam.

Note: Different cities have different regulations, so be sure to read the regulations in your area carefully (or if you are a small business, please contact us at Rubicon to help you prepare for recycling. This guide will come in handy in that The inevitable "Oh, no, I can recycle, or not recycle" moments, please read on, understand the situation, and spread knowledge with other companies, colleagues and friends.

How to recycle batteries

Disposable alkaline batteries: In most states, it is legal to throw disposable alkaline batteries in the trash can. Thanks to a law passed in 1996, alkaline batteries no longer contain mercury, so it is safer to put them in landfills. However, this does not mean that you should do this. To properly recycle your disposable alkaline batteries, you can take the batteries to a recycling location or use a mail-in recycling kit.

Rechargeable batteries: These batteries are commonly used in electronic products such as computers and mobile phones. Because they may contain harmful substances, you should not throw them in the trash. Instead, take them to a specific battery collection location, such as a hardware store or government building.

Car batteries: Did you know that car batteries are the most recycled item in the United States? According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, their recycling rate is as high as 98%. To recycle car batteries, take them to a dealer or car repair shop.

How to recycle plastic

Plastic bags: Do not throw plastic bags into the recycling bin! Instead, plastic bags must be recycled in the collection box. You can usually find these bins at a grocery store near you. Don't forget to remove any items from the bag, including garbage, receipts, etc.

Plastic bottles: Most plastic bottles can be placed in your recycling bin and taken away by your waste and recycling service provider. Remember to rinse the bottle to see if the cap can be recycled with the bottle or if they should be separated.

Plastic bottle caps: Different cities have different regulations on the recycling of plastic bottle caps and caps. Some regulations allow you to keep them on the bottle, while others require you to recycle them separately or throw them away. Know the regulations of your city and your waste and recycling suppliers.

Plastic packaging: Plastic packaging and film are usually not picked up by roadside waste and recycling suppliers. Instead, it must be taken to the grocery store to wait for the drop-off location.

Other useful information: Not all plastics are created equal! Check out this article to learn how to interpret the different plastic recycling symbols.

How to recycle paper

General paper products: In many places, roadside suppliers accept most grades of paper. When recycling general paper products, try to avoid wetting the paper.

Newspapers: You can usually recycle newspapers in your own recycling bin. If you know that your newspaper has not been chemically treated, you can also compost it.

Paper bags: Brown paper bags can be recycled in your trash can. If your shopping bag mixes paper and plastic materials, do some research to see if your waste and recycling suppliers accept them. If some parts of the paper bag are dirty, please remove these parts before recycling the rest.

Shredded paper: Shredded paper should not be treated the same as non-shredded paper. Before shredding the paper, use a black marker to mark any sensitive information. After shredding the paper, put it in a paper bag. Research local regulations, as some cities may require you to get off at a specific location.

Magazines: If the stock of old magazines in your home keeps increasing, then it's time to recycle them. First, check if you can donate the magazine to the library or share it with family and friends. If you really want to recycle magazines, you can put them in the recycling bin. Throw away any water-damaged magazines.

How to recycle cardboard

Ordinary cardboard: Due to the durability of cardboard, it is the most recycled paper product. To recycle the cardboard box, remove the packaging and shipping materials. Disassemble the box and put it in the recycling bin. If possible, don't let it get wet, as this will prevent it from being recycled!

Waxed cardboard: Waxed cardboard is usually used to transport refrigerated or frozen items. The cardboard is lined with polyethylene to give it a waxy residue. Ask your recycling supplier if waxed cardboard is accepted; if so, please disassemble the box and treat it like recycled normal cardboard.

How to recycle glass

Glass bottles and jars: Interesting fact: There is no limit to the frequency of glass recycling. Rinse the glass container and remove any lids or corks. If your supplier requires you to separate glass products from paper products, please put them in the appropriate trash bin. In some states, you can bring a glass bottle in exchange for cash.

How to recycle aluminumAluminum cans: Most roadside suppliers will use aluminum cans as part of their aluminum recycling program-just rinse them out and put them in your trash. Like glass bottles, some states allow you to bring aluminum cans in exchange for cash.

Aluminum foil: Unfortunately, most aluminum foil is contaminated with food. This makes recycling more difficult. You can rinse the aluminum foil and recycle it, but you should consult your supplier.

How to recycle polystyrene foam

Styrofoam: Styrofoam is actually the brand name for expanded polystyrene (EPS). It is usually used for packaging materials, insulating materials, and takeaway food containers. Unfortunately, curbside recycling vendors usually don’t accept Styrofoam, but you can recycle Styrofoam by bringing styrofoam materials such as peanuts to a shipping store. As for other styrofoam products, please do your research and find a delivery site or mailing program that is meaningful to you.

If your business needs recycling plans and plans, please be sure to contact Rubicon at to listen to our recycling team and start eliminating waste in 2019.

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