Why Should I Follow the Recycling Rules?
I live in an apartment with, lets say, a limited recycling program. On the recycling bin it reads “Plastic, glass bottles, and aluminum. NO BAGS!” Although every time I take the recycling out there are bags in the bin. So I decided to research why recycling companies do not accept bags in the recycling bins.
In fact, contamination in the recycling business is a big problem. Some estimates put the costs of irresponsible contamination in the neighborhood of $700 million per year industry-wide.-Earth911
This cost is due to damaged machinery, disposal costs for non-recyclable material, and wasted time and materials. Here are examples of a few items and how they contaminate and damage the recycling system.
Plastic bags: These cause damage by wrapping themselves around the machinery, often causing the plant to be shut down, until the bags are removed. To help avoid this situation, recycle your plastic bags at specific bins which are located at most grocery stores.
Grease: Grease from food left on paper plates and pizza boxes makes it difficult to recycle paper and cardboard properly. Paper fibers cannot separate from oil which causes big problems for the quality of the recycled product. Grease soiled plates and pizza boxes have to be thrown away or composted.
Plastic bottle caps:Yes they are plastic, but they should usually be thrown away. The plastic it’s made out of doesn’t melt at the same temperature point, and if one un-melted cap is mixed with melted bottles, the whole batch can be ruined. Avoid contributing to the problem and throw plastic bottle caps in the trash.
What I learned from my research is that you CAN contaminate your recycling. This means when you sneak items into the recycling, such as pizza boxes or plastic bags, you may end up doing more harm than good. Although recycling is important for our environment, contamination may reduce the amount of recycling material able to be used. Pay attention to what your city or building accepts, and follow the rules. If you would like to recycle like crazy, you can simply take your recycling to a collection site.