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Ready to Recycle? Your Guide to The Basics

It’s no secret Americans generate tons of trash. The average American will discard up to 600 times their weight in garbage in a lifetime. Leftover food, unwanted toys, clothing and electronics make up the bulk of waste hauled off to municipal landfills. City trash services have become part of the solution through the implementation of curbside recycling programs.

How Does It Work?

If you live in an area that has implemented curbside recycling, your trash service will issue two or three colored bins to be placed out on trash day alongside your regular trash. Recycling bins are designed to hold up to three categories of recyclables: yard waste or trimmings; paper goods such as clean food cartons, newspapers and magazines; and glass and plastic bottles.

All containers should be clean and free of food residue. You may want to toss that old peanut butter jar or pizza box in with recycling, but they must be clean in order for them to be processed as recyclables and not as conventional trash. Some residential waste collection companies offer specific guidelines printed right on the lids of the recycling containers, or the information is available on their company website.

What About Old Furniture, TVs, Computer Monitors and Other Large Items?

In some cases, your trash pickup service will also offer bulky item collection services for old electronics and other items that are too big for your trash cans. This service is generally offered for free once a year, with a nominal charge for additional collections.

Unfortunately, those aren’t recyclable and must be discarded according to the instructions on the container. Some items, such as pesticides, solvents, and motor oil have very specific disposal instructions. Some communities offer a hazardous waste collection drive once or twice a year, where residents can drop off household chemicals, old light bulbs, non-recyclable goods, and used motor oil. These items are then transported to a facility dedicated to disposing of them without harming the environment.

Depending on your community and location, curbside recycling and similar programs may be a regular part of weekly trash services or a new program for residents. By sorting recyclable goods from regular household trash, you are helping to divert tons of reusable goods from the landfill and to recycling plants where the essential materials are broken down and reused.

Recycling takes place on many levels, and the first place recycling starts is in your very own home. Contact your local trash services today for more information and tips on making the most of your community’s recycling program.

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