April 22 marked the 45th anniversary of Earth Day. This event has waxed and waned since its launch in 1970, but every year it is celebrated as a reminder that a clean environment doesn’t happen on its own. In our homes we may recycle, use solar energy, compost, use rain barrels, or work toward a move to live off the grid.
At a recent Earth Day event, our Recycling Booth was staffed and busy. I always ask residents about their recycling habits and three attendees told me, flat out that NO they did not recycle.
I rarely get that answer but if so only while sheepishly skirting around the answer of NO… to avoid embarrassment in front of other families or their own.
Recycling is voluntary and quite simple since Single Stream “All in One” recycling was instituted in Broward County.
Most recycling families have more in the recycle cart than in the garbage can these days.
Have you considered when you recycle not only the global impact you are making but that you are also contributing to the bottom line of your community?
By recycling, you reduce solid waste tonnage and transport to a land fill which is more costly than processing the recyclable materials from your home.
Making cans from recycled aluminum, the most valuable container material, requires 95% less energy and creates 90% less greenhouse-gas emissions than virgin stock, yet more than 40 billion aluminum cans hit America's landfills every year.
By recycling aluminum cans, plastics, and paper you are contributing to a sound ecological sustainable manufacturing cycle. Your municipality receives revenue from recyclables and the least contamination in your recycling the higher the commodity is worth.
If you have any questions about recycling in your community contact your municipal recycling specialist or Lee Rickles at Sun Bergeron at 954-680-6100.
I am confused about paper food containers. What is recyclable?
Any food container that has been soiled with food is not recyclable and should be put in the garbage.
Ex: pizza boxes and other fast food or to-go containers.
Paperboard food containers such as cereal boxes, paper egg cartons, and cake mix boxes that are unsoiled are recyclable.
Please be sure to remove the plastic liner and shake out extra food crumbs.
Rinse food bottles, and jars, remove the lids.
Frozen food boxes, juice cartons and milk containers should be rinsed and drained before placing in the bin.
What items are considered contaminants in recycling?
Many items can be considered contaminants including foam cartons, trays and plastic bags. Contamination happens when non-recyclable items are mixed in with recyclables items or when recyclable items.
Innocent looking paper smeared with food or grease cannot be processed with clean paper and can ruin a newly made product if it is not caught before it goes to the factory.
Garbage tossed in your recycling bin makes your load contaminated and worthless. Too much contamination is the reason manufacturers reject tons of recyclable paper each year.
What should I do with slightly used paper towels, paper plates, paper napkins, or paper cups?
Although these items are paper, they are garbage. Throw paper plates, napkins, and cups in the garbage.
Why can't pizza boxes be recycled?
Pizza boxes are made from corrugated cardboard; however, the bottom cardboard becomes soiled with grease, cheese, and other foods once the pizza has been placed in the box.
Once soiled, the paper cannot be recycled because the paper fibers will not be able to be separated from the oils during the pulping process.
Food is a major source of contamination in the various paper categories.
A CLEAN GREASE FREE top is recyclable. Only recycle the top if unsoiled.