A Crash Course in Recycling

January 25, 2023
by Anna Eyler

H1 - What’s a Rich Text element?

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Paragraph - A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

Quote - A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

We know that recycling can be confusing, so we’ve put together this guide to help you feel more sure of your recycling habits. Remember that recycling systems vary by city, county, state, and country, so be sure to check what is and isn’t recyclable in your area when you’re unsure.


Did you know that 91 percent of plastic isn’t recycled? With a little collective effort, we can change that.

Most plastic products will have a small triangle with a number (1-7) inside it, usually on the bottom of the product. The numbers correspond to the type of resin used to make the plastic. Some recycling programs accept all types of plastic, others only accept some of the numbers. It is important to look up what plastic numbers your local recycling system accepts. You can make a note of it and stick it on your fridge or somewhere else that is visible so you and other members of your household don’t forget.

In one survey, 41 percent of respondents said that they don’t recycle bathroom products. If you find yourself not recycling bathroom products, consider adding an extra bin for recycling. Also, don’t forget to rinse empty containers out really well, it’s important for the recycling process to go smoothly.

TerraCycle is a recycling company that specializes in hard-to-recycle materials. They have drop-off locations, mail-in programs, and more that you can check out on their website. For example, you’ve been collecting your old, empty toothpaste containers, but you don’t know what to do with them. You can’t wash them out, so how are you supposed to recycle them? That’s where TerraCycle can come in. Go to their website and search “toothpaste” in the top right search box. They’ll give you a few options, including the Colgate® Oral Care Recycling Program which accepts all oral care products. Then, you can search your location to see if there’s a free drop-off location near you. You can repeat this process with lots of products or search through their free recycling programs.

Plastic bags, wrap and film cannot be recycled in most curbside programs. They can however be recycled at grocery stores. You can find participating locations near you using the Wrap Recycling Action Program’s (WRAP) drop-off location finder.


The amazing thing about glass is that it can be recycled over and over again essentially forever! Making new glass from recycled glass instead of raw materials is a great way to limit our use of the natural resources -- sand, soda ash, limestone, and “cullet” -- needed to make glass. Glass from food and beverage containers is 100 percent recyclable, but other glass from things like window panes and products usually aren’t. So look into what your local municipality asks you to do with non-food and beverage container glass before you recycle it.


Surprisingly, only half of all paper in the U.S. is recycled. It also makes up 23 percent of trash that ends up in landfills. Paper recycling is a great way to save energy and natural resources. Recycling one ton of paper saves 17 trees, 7,000 gallons of water, and 463 gallons of oil. Remember to make sure that all paper products are clean, dry, and empty before recycling! Here’s a (non-exhaustive) list of common paper products that can be recycled:


While electronics can’t be recycled through curbside programs, there’s a good chance you have an electronic recycling center near you! You can search Earth911 or use the EPA’s webpage to find retailers like Best Buy and Samsung that have recycling programs. It is important that electronics don’t end up in regular recycling systems or landfills because they generally contain toxic chemicals that can leak.

Half of all ink cartridges aren’t recycled. Those that are recycled are refurbished and manufactured to be resold. Recycling one ink cartridge saves over two pounds of metal and plastic from entering landfills, and it also saves a half gallon of water.

In encouraging news, about 99 percent of batteries are recycled! Never recycle batteries through curbside recycling as the toxic chemicals inside the battery can leak and contaminate the other recyclables. Unfortunately, contaminated batches of recyclables must be sent to the landfill. You can find battery drop-off locations through Earth911 and often offices, schools, and libraries also have these programs.


It’s always best to donate usable clothes to local thrift stores or charitable organizations first. However, sometimes clothes just aren’t in good enough condition to donate. Don’t throw them away! You can search for textile recycling programs on Earth911.

Here are some brands that also recycle textiles. Some will accept any brand of clothing, others will only accept their own, make sure to check first.

Things You Should NOT Recycle

Now that we’ve discussed all of the things you can recycle, here’s a list of things that often end up contaminating recycling batches:

If you’re really unsure if you should recycle something, and you don’t have the time to find the answer online, remember this motto: “When in doubt, throw it out.” It’s better for one recyclable thing to enter the landfill than one non-recyclable thing entering the recycling system and contaminating a whole batch. Then, the whole batch would end up in the landfill.

Remember, it’s not about being perfect; it’s about making an effort to do your small part in conserving our natural resources to help our planet.