You think you’re doing a good thing by sorting your trash into proper bins and bringing them regularly to a recycling center. But did you know that there are specific items that cannot be recycled or can potentially damage recycling machines and contaminate other items? Here’s a list of the top offenders.
1. Pizza boxes
Pizzas are greasy, and so the boxes that contain them get stained with grease (and cheese, or pepperoni!). And because that cardboard is saturated with grease, it becomes hard to sell in recycling centers because these would contaminate the other cardboard items these would be stored with.
What you can do: You just have to throw the box away—or don’t have pizza delivered!
Do people still use Styrofoam? A whole hardheaded lot still do, and there’s good reason this material can’t be recycled. That’s because it’s made out of polystyrene, a material that doesn’t break down for hundreds of years (meaning, you’ll be dead but these buggers will still be around).
What you can do: Don’t buy items or order food that still use styro packaging. If you’re going to pack a balikbayan box, don’t use styro peanuts; use shredded newspaper instead.
3. Paper coffee cups
Some may be shocked to find out that the paper cup that they thought was going to help save the environment is going to a landfill, just the same. Paper coffee cups are lined with polyethylene, which keeps the cup from becoming soggy.
What you can do: Bring your own reusable thermos or flask for your morning cuppa.
4. Take-out containers
You can actually recycle a plastic take-out container, but the problem is, most people toss those out with scraps of food or liquid in it.
What you can do: Remove any leftover food and wash the containers before taking to the recycling center. Better yet, bring your own reusable food container.
5. Plastic shopping bags
Oh plastic bags, the bane of earth’s existence. Even recycling centers hate them, because they get caught in and clog up the recycling machinery.
What you can do: Don’t you use tote bags yet? Here are some cool ones that will convince you to.
SOURCES: treehugger.com, thisisinsider.com
This story originally appeared on Realliving.com.ph.
* Minor edits have been made by the Femalenetwork.com editors.