When you have an item that you can't reuse or reduce, chances are it will go in a recycling bin for waste recycling. Trying to figure out how and what to recycle is crucial, and this means not just blindly tossing items into the bins and hoping for the best.

LJP Waste Solutions wants to ensure you are recycling responsibly, so here are a few of the most common mistakes individuals make and ways to fix them.

You Think You Can Recycle All Plastics

The truth is only 9% of all plastic will get recycled, which means 91% of the remaining is buried in landfills, burned, or left to pollute the earth. And it's even more concerning because mass production of plastic only began six decades ago, and it has created over 8.3 billion metric tons from disposable products alone.

Its ease of use, between packaged food to the cell phone you use, has contributed to its popularity. Unfortunately, most plastics never get reused to turn into new products, making this even more detrimental because when the plastic isn't recycled, more is produced.

The Solution

One starting place is to use less plastic, primarily single-use items like cutlery, water bottles, or disposable dental picks.

Choose reusable items, learn more about what cannot be recycled, and create a more efficient and easy-to-follow process.

Tossing Out Dirty Containers

Another common mistake is not cleaning your recyclables before putting them in the bin. This becomes an issue once the items reach the recycling facility because the contaminants can ruin parts of the process.

Most communities use a single-stream recycling technique, which means all materials, sometimes even paper, are put into one bin instead of being separated. Grease and dampness on cardboard or 1/2 filled bottles of soda can turn the entire bin into trash.

Or if you have items like mayonnaise, shampoo, or peanut butter, these can gum up the recycling machinery and create an even larger issue for the recycling facility.

The Solution

Wash any of your jars and cans out, and if that greasy pizza box is ready to go out, don't put it in the recycling. Be sure to throw away any heavily soiled items.

Leaving the Recyclables in Plastic Grocery Bags

Some individuals find it easier to gather their recyclables in a plastic bag, but, unfortunately, the entire bag might be thrown into the bin. Plastic bags can cause big issues for the machinery at the processing facility because they can get jammed in the gears and slow down the entire production line.

In addition, some people also use bin liners to help keep their recycling bins cleaner. The same problem arises because it is a plastic bag; if it gets dumped into the recycling truck, the same problem occurs.

The Solution

While putting recyclables in a plastic bag is OK, dump them out of the bag. While some plastic bags are recyclable, they require a different process.

In most cases, you will be able to find drop-off stations in front of grocery stores, or you can consider reducing your dependence on plastic bags altogether and investing in reusable ones.

Wish-Cycling is Part of Your Routine

If you have ever tossed out an old plastic toy or a broken electronics, this is called "wish-cycling," And it's detrimental to the recycling process.

When something that can't be recycled ends up in a bin, typically, everything else in there will be seen as garbage, resulting in items that could have been recycled going into landfills instead.

The Solution

The simple answer is to incorporate a more responsible way to eliminate items you no longer need or want. If the product is still in working condition, consider donating it or find companies who will take the items and redistribute them to those in need.

You Recycle Single-Use Cups

Statistics show that an estimated 16 billion disposable cups are used annually. And even when they look like natural paper, in most cases, they cannot be put into recycling because they are typically lined with plastic to help keep them from leaking. Unfortunately, this puts them into the category of waste.

Even with cardboard sleeves or wooden stirrers that can be recycled, the cups cannot, making recycling them a critical error for consumers.

The Solution

Investing in a customized or personalized reusable coffee cup is the best method to combat this. Even if you like picking up your coffee instead of making it at home, many companies will offer discounts if you bring your cup with you.

You Aren't Looking at the Recycling Symbols

Each piece of recyclable material will have a code printed on it to help let the consumer know where it needs to go.

Unfortunately, this number is not always looked at, so the right products sometimes go into the wrong bins, making the process harder for the facility.

The Solution

Take some time to get educated on what your local facilities can process. This knowledge will help you understand if the number on the piece of plastic can be recycled and make the entire process more efficient for everyone.

LJP Waste Solutions: Your Trusted Name in Innovative Solutions 

The changes you make today may be small, but they can help protect future generations and the environment. Implementing waste solutions can help create a streamlined process that maximizes efficiency, and if you need an expert, LJP Waste Solutions is a trusted name in Minnesota.

Sustainability is our business; Our primary goal is to help create zero landfill companies through education and resources.

Let us help you reach your sustainability goals with our streamlined solutions! Message us online, or call us at 507-625-1968 to request a consultation today.