Waste recycling is a process that has been around for over twenty years. For years, the items have been sent overseas for sorting, but individuals reverted the system to a domestic structure due to markets closing. In addition, with the limit and demand, there is a call for a higher product grade, forcing the prices to fluctuate based on the material.

Every state is different, so depending on where you live, requirements may fluctuate. There is one common understanding that recyclables need cleaning before putting them into the receptacle. How clean do they need to be? What is an acceptable level of food particles left on them?

In most cases, the experts will tell you that items like jars or yogurt containers need to be free of debris or food waste.

Why Recycling Matters

One central fact remains the containers mix together to create new products; having them free of any residue is ideal.

With the processes, a recovery facility called an MRF takes the materials for sorting. The cleanliness comes in here because the matter left in the items can spill into other containers, lowering their quality and sending them to the landfill instead of being reused.

Other concerns have arisen, like ensuring cleaning out items that have substances like peanut butter and mayonnaise. If any stickiness gets into the parts, it can cause a breakdown of the equipment leading to a shut down in the plant until resolved.

How Can You Get Your Recyclables as Clean as Possible

Ensuring you implement a utensil to scrape the inside clean helps remove most of the waste. In addition, running it through the dishwasher or rinsing it with water will remove the remaining particles.

Having some water inside the item is acceptable, but we recommend shaking off the material or drying it before throwing it out.

Is It Really Worth the Work?

The truth is, it all depends on where you live because different cities have different systems it will vary.

There is a waste solution system in Chicago that includes cleaning at the facility, while in Denver, only 30% of containers need rinsing due to their methods. San Francisco, on the other hand, wants all containers cleaned thoroughly. These differences are due to the single-stream system that each city applies for their processes, and in most cases, there are enough people to inspect and clean the items as they come in.

With each American producing around 1600 lbs of garbage per year and 90% of plastic not being recycled, it makes sense to do everything possible to encourage this process. Not only does recycling help save on resources, but it can also add value and reduce the extraction of things like aluminum from the earth.

The Downside to the Process

With all the good comes the negative in some cases.

●        Those opposed claim that recycling costs more money than placing the items in landfills and that the money can be put to better use for things like greenhouse emission reduction.

●        Concerns around the water wasted to clean out the items and the amount of machinery, labor, and time recycling companies spend may not be all that efficient in the long run for glass and plastic.

●        Studies have shown that landfills may not be as dangerous as once perceived. This reality is due to closely monitored regulations and strict guidelines to adhere to. Disposal prices are also lower than they used to be and are converted to parks or stadiums in some cases.

What Are the Alternatives?

One suggestion came from Bucknell University stating that imposing a carbon tax for companies would be more beneficial than recycling in general. Applying a higher tax on the trash that goes to the landfill is an alternative option.

Consuming less would be a starting point. Recycling permits individuals to use as much plastics and paper as they desire, but in reality, a reduction would be a better solution. Have more self-awareness of use with things that create energy consumption and more sustainable options to remove the need for hazardous materials or batteries to promote a more sustainable environment.

Creating a Better Recycling System for Everyone

There is no doubt that recycling requires less energy consumption than creating a new product from materials. It creates a reduction in landfill space and lessens the greenhouse gas emissions from landfills. In addition, it makes a cleaner place for the wildlife and creates jobs that outweigh the downside to the processes.

The hardest part is getting started if recycling is something you have not adapted to in your everyday life. Having a company that can show you how to implement waste-to-energy components into your business is your first step.

LJP Waste Solutions offers options for sustainable waste solutions and zero-landfill initiatives with a focus on sustainability. We want to help you find a solution that works for your company, so give us a call at 507-625-1968 or contact us for more information.