Recycling 101: Let’s Begin with The Recycling Bins

Steve Davies

By Steve Davies,
Healthy Planet Columnist

So, after our deep dive into pizza boxes last month, I thought maybe it’s best to take a step back and go through the actual recycling process and first talk about the bins themselves. They are an important part to this whole process for the vast majority of people. It’s where most people put what they’re hoping to recycle in each week.

Interestingly enough, shortly after I wrote that article about pizza boxes, I came across a couple of trash cans in downtown Kirkwood stuffed with pizza boxes and as I mentioned last month, while it’s not advertised, the city of Kirkwood will take the tops of the pizza boxes as they are usually clean. The thought crossed my mind to go sort them but I did have my son so I knew that wasn’t going to happen.

To add to that, the other night as I was taking a walk through my neighborhood I saw where a neighbor of mine with their recycling bin sitting side by with their trash bin at the curb, had both bins stuffed with cardboard. The question that first came to my mind was why? This question then led me to another question and that was, what else was in their recycling bin and what else was in their trash bin?

As I’ve talked about before and in fact have seen before, is that what’s in those bins isn’t always what should be in them which leads to things that can be recycled being thrown away and vice-versa. This in turn leads me to another topic that again, I’ve also seen occur with the recycling bins.

What I’ve seen over time is how many people will simply put what they are recycling into a plastic trash bag and then throw that bag into their recycling bin. Now I will be the first to admit, I do put items to be recycled into a bag but, I put them into a paper bag. I know the paper bags can also be recycled and sometimes I then throw those bags in as well but, plastic bags can’t be.

That said, next month we’ll go jump back into those recycling bins, starting off with various paper products that I know many of us come into contact with regarding to-go food, be it at home or on the go. Meanwhile, if you have questions, feel free to email me at thprecycler@yahoo.com.