The 5 Worst Things to Throw in the Recycling Bin
Don't make the mistake of throwing these items in your home recycling bin.
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Bill Keegan, president of recycling and waste management company Dem-Con, has seen it all in his 24 years in the recycling business. Here are five things he says should absolutely never be tossed into your home recycling bins, and what you can do with the items instead.
These batteries can explode and catch fire when broken or crushed by machinery. They’re responsible for fires nearly every month at Dem-Con and other recycling centers in the country.
This paper can contaminate entire batches of glass and other materials. It’s slippery underfoot, a cleanup nightmare, and can’t be recycled at some centers.
Instead: Compost, minimize shredding and take paper to local shredding events.
Plastic Bags, Films and Tarps
These items wrap around belts and rollers, stopping equipment and entire production lines.
Hoses, Wire and Extension Cords
It might seem obvious, but these items can’t be recycled because they tangle machinery and can be dangerous for workers to remove.
Instead: Repair broken hoses and extension cords. Otherwise, trash them.
Sharp Items and Syringes
These items pose health hazards for recycling workers. Conveyor belts must be stopped to remove items safely.
Instead: Visit https://www.safeneedledisposal.org to learn about your state’s guidelines for disposal.
Bonus: Diapers are also on Keegan’s list
Procter & Gamble and other companies are working on diaper recycling. But for now, the only place for the 450 billion diapers used each year worldwide is in the trash.
Excerpt from A Walk Around the Block: Stoplight Secrets, Mischievous Squirrels, Manhole Mysteries & Other Stuff You See Every Day (And Know Nothing About)
By Spike Carlsen. Published by HarperOne. Copyright © 2020 HarperCollins.
About the author: Spike Carlsen served as editor and executive editor of The Family Handyman magazine for 15 years. “A Walk Around the Block,” which examines the inner workings, mysteries and histories of the world around us, is his seventh book. More information at spikecarlsen.com