Most of us can agree that recycling is a good thing. It’s always good to cut down on your waste and reuse our resources as much as possible, for the sake of the local environment and the world at large. But too often, people who recycle do so without thinking about it, and this can result in recycling contamination — turning their good intentions into regular old trash.

Recycling contamination is when the wrong items are placed in recycling bins or recyclable items being prepared incorrectly or contaminated before being recycled. This can cause an extra hassle for those at the recycling company and sometimes leads to the recycling being ruined altogether.

Check Acceptable Materials

Some people assume that all plastics can be recycled, but that’s not always the case. Plastic bags, in fact, are often not recyclable, whether bags you get from the grocery store or ziploc bags used for storage. In fact, even some plastics that have recycling symbols on them are not necessarily accepted by your waste management company. Always check the list of acceptable materials. For instance, while Brazos Valley Trash Valet & Recycling accepts plastics 1-7, most waste management companies only pick up plastics 1 and 2.

Beware of Hazardous Materials

Never toss batteries into the recycling bin. Batteries release hazardous chemicals that can make everything in your recycling obsolete. Household cleaners are also something to avoid lumping in with the rest of your recycling, and plastic bottles that contained household cleaners should be cleaned out thoroughly before they’re recycled. Earth911 wrote a blog post about some safe ways to dispose of household cleaning products.

Food Residue

Just because your takeout box is recyclable doesn’t mean your leftover food is recyclable. Before you recycle any food containers, you should make sure food is completely cleared out. Sometimes even grease from the food can be a contaminant, which is why pizza boxes and similar paperboard are usually taken to landfills. If you have a recyclable can, jar, or plastic tupperware, make sure it’s thoroughly rinsed and cleaned before it’s recycled.

Collecting is Not Recycling

Not everything collected for recycling will be recycled. This can be disheartening for those who are just trying to reduce their waste, but it’s why it’s so important to guard yourself against recycling contamination. Fortunately with the single stream service, we can root out things that aren’t recyclable in order to recycle as much as possible, but it’s essential for homeowners to do their part to reduce their recycling contamination.

Brazos Valley Trash Valet & Recycling understands how important recycling is, which is why we accept more plastics than any waste management companies in the area and use a single stream system for efficiency. We provide complimentary recycling service along with our monthly trash pick-up subscription to homes in Brazos Valley outside of College Station. Want to learn more about what to watch out for with recycling contamination and our recycling service? Contact us today.