Sustainable Living | Nov 12, 2017 11:00:00 PM

10 Recycling Mistakes You Make and How to Stop

In the words of all grade 5 teachers: "the best mistakes are the ones we learn from".  Chances are you care a bit more about sustainability, green cleaning and healthy living then the average Joe (or Josephine) by coming to this blog, and our residential cleaning teams are going to let you in on a few recycling mistakes you may make when helping the environment.

Food Soaked Containers

We all love a little take out here and there. But one thing that you need to be aware of is the paper containers cannot be recycled if food soaks in, as the grease contaminates the paper. Good news though, depending on where you are, some of these containers can be disposed of as organic waste.

Food soaked containers are not recyclable | AspenClean

Removing labels From Bottles And Cans

Don't do more work then you need to. The labels on bottles or cans are burned off during the thermal recycling process. Save those fingernails!

Bottles and Cans with labels don't need to be removed when reycling | AspenClean

Shredded Paper

It seems counter intuitive, but avoid recycling any shredded paper. The paper is too small to go through sorting machines and will fall out. Some recycling plants can accept them if they're brought in bags, but make sure to call ahead first.

Shredded paper is not good for recycling | AspenClean


Recyclable Materials Inside Plastic Bags For Collection

Putting recyclable items into plastic bags does more harm than good. Bags can be difficult for the sorting staff to open and can clog the machines. Staff are also trained to remove and dispose of any items that look like trash, which these bags can easily disguise themselves as. 

Don't put your recyclables in plastic bags | AspenClean


Thin, Brittle, or "clamshell" Plastics

These containers are made from plastics that are inconsistent and difficult to sort.  As there isn't an easy to way to sort them, it becomes very difficult to properly recycle them. The environmental cost of recycling this plastic is greater than the cost of manufacturing.


Clamshell plastic is not recyclable | AspenClean

Emptying Liquids

Even though it is gross, make sure all the liquid in your containers are emptied. Liquid can contaminate other materials at the recycling plants (such as paper), and the extra weight causes inaccuracies while sorting. 


Remove liquids before recycling the containers | AspenClean


Plastic Bag Inclusion

It's very rare for recycling plants to accept plastic bags. Adding them to the mix just causes nothing but headaches. A solution to this is calling your local grocery store and inquire if they have a reusable bag program.

Plastic bags are difficult to recycle, so avoid them altogether | AspenClean


Repurposing Before Recycling 

Even as the green option, recycling has a cost. Minimize the cost as much as you can by repurposing your recyclables before you send them out.



Not Placing Trash And Recycling Bins Together

Humans are creatures of habit and familiarity. Condition those in your home and your office to sort waste responsibly by placing the recycling bin beside the trash. 

Place recycling bins and trash bins separately | AspenClean


Coffee Cup Lid

The big one. We all love our disposable coffee cups, and while the cups are recyclable, those beautiful black lids usually are not. Even those which have the recycle symbol, most are too small to sort and be able to be processed. 

Coffee cup lids are too small to recycle, so don't use them | AspenCleanRectifying these mistakes is as easy as booking a cleaning service. (just in case you want some one else to do the recycling for you)

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