While recycling paper may be it may seem simple, there are a few things you need to know to recycle paper properly.
If you live in a town that offers a single stream recycling system, you can easily recycle most everyday paper items, such as:
- junk mail
- phone books (remember those?)
While you can easily recycle many paper products, there are several other paper-based items that are not recyclable. So let ‘s review these items:
First, we’ve got a category of items I call flimsy paper. This includes napkins, paper towels, tissues and candy wrappers. These items are too thin to be recycled, so they should always go in the trash.
Another area that is cause for lots of confusion are cartons made out of coated paper.
These containers have a waxy feel to them and include milk cartons, juice boxes, and even wine boxes. We’re even starting to see water sold in boxes.
These cartons are primarily made from paper. But they also have a thin layer of plastic or aluminum.
While these items can be recycled in some communities, that’s not the case in many communities. So sadly, these items must go in the trash. Go to www.cartoncouncil.org to find out if your town offers carton recycling.
Now, this being summer barbecue season, you may be going through lots of paper plates. In most cases, these should go in your trash bin. That’s because most plates fall into that category of coated paper, with that waxy coating.
But if you have the old fashioned thin paper plates that have not been soiled by food, these can go in your recycling bin.
Next up? Shredded paper. You may be surprised to learn that shredded paper should not be placed in your recycling bin. The scraps of paper are simply too small to be sorted by the machines at that sort recyclable materials.
Last but certainly not least is the pizza box. What to do?
Well, since they’re made of cardboard, pizza boxes can go in your recycling bin. However, as with all paper products, they need to be free of grease and food scraps.
So if the pizza box has a liner, remove it, and if the box is not greasy, recycle away. But if the bottom is greasy, recycle the top half and place the rest in the trash.
Let’s recap what we’ve covered today:
1. Most everyday paper items and cardboard can go in your single stream recycling bin.
2. Coated paper and cartons go in the trash.
3. Shredded paper goes in the trash or bring it to a shredding center
4. If paper is soiled with food, it should go always in the trash.
And a final reminder, never place recyclables of any kind inside a plastic bag!