Recycling today seems more complicated than ever -- it's time to get Back to Basics.
Minnesotans are throwing away more than 285,000 tons of paper and 12,000 tons of aluminum cans each year -- all of which have been recyclable for decades. Don't make recycling any more complicated than it needs to be. It can be as easy as remembering to recycle these three things: bottles, cans and paper.
- Plastic and glass bottles -- Dump out any liquids to keep all our recycling clean and dry. Twist on the caps to bottles or throw away loose caps.
- Cans -- No matter if they held pop or beans, food and beverage cans always go in the recycling.
- Paper is even easier -- If it's made of paper or cardboard, put it in the recycling cart. No prep needed -- just toss in all your mail, flattened boxes, and even softcover books.
Not all goes in the bin.
Now that you know bottles, cans and paper are accepted in one recycling cart, knowing what to keep out of the bin is just as important -- and more of a challenge. Recycling facilities use many machines along with people to sort the materials, and certain items can cause major problems for the process.
Keep these items out of your recycling cart.
- Plastic bags. Bring clean plastic bags to your local grocery or retail store.
- Tanglers. Place garden hoses, chains and other tanglers in the trash if they can’t be reused.
- Batteries. All batteries are accepted at The Recycling Zone.
- Loose bottle caps. Leave caps on the bottles and cartons they came with and recycle normally.
- Shredded paper. Use seasonal collection events or a retail location that shreds for you.
- Medical sharps. Bring sharps in a sturdy container to The Recycling Zone.
- Foam. Avoid if possible, and place in the trash.
- Hazardous waste. Empty bottles that had chemicals or paint in them go in the trash.
- Drink pouches. Place pouches like CapriSun® in the trash.
- Other glass items. If you can’t donate drinking glasses or mirrors, place in the trash.
Use the online Green Guide to help know if an item is recyclable and where to take items that aren't.