By Tori Carle - Waste Reduction Supervisor, City of Greensboro
Have you ever wondered why some types of plastics aren't accepted in your curbside recycling bin? It's because there's a wide range of plastics, and they aren't created equally. All plastics respond to heat in one of two ways: some plastics can be remelted and molded into new plastic materials once they cool - these are thermoplastics. Other plastics are called thermosets - these can't be remelted and molded, so they aren't accepted in our recycling program. But just because an item is a thermoplastic doesn't mean it belongs in your curbside bin. Some plastic items, like plastic bags, are tanglers and can get caught in the recycling machinery. Other items, like plastic cutlery and bottle caps, are so small that they fall through cracks in the machines. Make sure to recycle plastic bottle caps ON the bottle so they don't get lost. And the shapes of some plastics can cause problems as well. For instance, plastic plates are so flat that they are sent to the paper piles, instead of to the plastic piles, so they can't be placed in your curbside bin. The good news is that many of the plastic items that aren't accepted in your recycling container have non-plastic alternatives. Plastic bags can be replaced with reusable bags or brown paper bags. Reusable cutlery and plates are great alternatives to single-use options. There are other factors that impact the types of things that can be put in your curbside recycling bin.
If you’re unsure if something is recyclable, try GSO’s new Waste Wizard feature: http://www.greensboro-nc.gov/collects
Recycle Away, Tori
PS--Email me if you would like to share any of my Ever Wonder Wednesday posts in a community or HOA newsletter. I will be happy to share content and images with you. As always, if you have any additional questions about waste reduction, please do not hesitate to private message or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.