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Sustainability at Carthage

Recycling Myths

MYTH: Most Americans recycle all they can

Research shows convenience and commitment are required for maximum recycling. For instance, is there more than one location in a household to store recyclables? If not, recyclables in areas other than the kitchen get thrown away. Additionally, is there only one committed recycler in a household (usually the person who picks up after everyone)? If so, studies indicate making this a family/partner affair where everyone participates, allows the most recycling of the right materials.

MYTH: The recycling arrows (Mobius) on a container means it is recyclable at a Material Recovery Facility (MRF)

Manufacturers strive to get eco-friendly information on their product labels. It sells. The FTC requires that a product have at least 60% access to local programs (like Material Recovery Facility processing) across the U.S. to include the Mobius on their products. However, the Mobius is not a reliable indicator of whether something gets recycled. There are thousands of plastic products and packaging, and each one has its own unique chemical recipe. Many plastics cannot be made into new products at this time. Recycle plastics by shape: bottles, jars, jugs and tabs.

MYTH: It doesn’t matter if something belongs in the recycling cart, the hauler will sort everything anyway

There are increasing amounts of non-recyclables sent to Material Recovery Facilities, and every single one of them must be removed by hand by trained staff and/or mechanically sorted, or they end up contaminating high value recyclables. Non-recyclable garbage placed into recycling containers increases the cost of the recycling process and will increase the cost of garbage and recycling collection service. Similarly, recyclable items placed into garbage containers are usually hauled to a landfill. Recyclables in a landfill cannot be recovered effectively. Even if further processing takes place, the full value is lost. The right thing to do is to put the all the right recyclables in the recycling container and non-recyclables into the garbage containers. Recyclables with the greatest impact are bottles, cans, and paper.

MYTH: All plastics can be recycled

Not all plastics can be successfully recycled. At this time, only some plastics can be made into new things. Recycle plastics by shape: bottles, jars, jugs and tubs.

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