A list of the most common household wastes that cannot be recycled include:
- Broken glass
- Rubber bands
- Wet, dirty or moldy paper
- Plastic types #3, #4, #5, #6 and #7
- Plastic bottle caps
- Napkins and tissues
- Fast food wrappers
- Aluminum foil
- Neon paper
- Waxed paper
- Milk cartons (the paper type ones, think American milk, or soy milk)
So many of these items are still common, everyday household goods, which look like they should be recyclable, but they really aren’t!
Lets take broken glass for example: currently broken glass cannot be recycled due to the danger that it poses to those sorting through the recycled materials. But we can recycle glass. The answer here seems so logical… should we have a place where we can seperate broken glass from non-broken glass, so that broken glass can be processed in a way that is safe to the operators and also enables it to still be recycled!
And what about neon paper and wet paper? Why on earth can we recycle paper, but not if its neon and not if it is wet. Can we recycle wet paper that has dried out? Turns out neon paper can’t be recycled because of the level of ink in the paper. If the colour goes all the way through the paper, it can’t be recycled. Now this just seems ridiculous! We clearly need new ideas, new technology, so we can recycle all paper!
As for wet paper, it has absorbed too much moisture and cannot also absorb the chemicals used at the mill required to recycle the paper. However, here there is an alternative, as wet paper can be composted, and it is even advisable to line your green, compost bins with paper to stop food stuffs sticking to the bottom. But still, there is only so much paper you need, and sometimes the sill circulars that come in the mail get absolutely saturated before you get the chance to rescue them!
So get thinking, what can we do recycle or minimize our use of these common household items? Any grand ideas? I, for one, should probably cut down on my sticky note consumption, those neon colours are such good study aids but turns out they are also ruining the environment! What are you going to do/what grand ideas do you have to stop these common household waste items going to landfills?