Recycling can be very confusing and somewhat frustrating. According to the UC Berkeley Office of Sustainability the following is what’s actually recycleable.
Recycling must be CLEAN and DRY.
⁃ If bottles and cans have food or liquid in them, they will be thrown away at the recycling plant. Moreover, if a bag of recycling is more than 20% contaminated, either with food or non-recyclables, ALL OF IT will be landfilled.
⁃ If paper is wet or damp (or gets wet or damp because of wet bottles and cans) it will go to landfill.
What is recyclable?
⁃ Clean, dry aluminum foil (feel free to wash and dry it if it has food on it)
⁃ Aluminum cans
⁃ Plastic drink bottles/milk jugs, some plastic containers but not most
⁃ Clean, dry paper & cardboard (egg cartons too!)
What isn’t recyclable?
⁃ Film plastic (plastic bags or anything like that); they clog the machines at the plant
⁃ Coffee cups/boba cups/Solo cups
⁃ Anything contaminated with food
⁃ Any mixed material. For example, orange juice cartons are plastic layered with paper. They cannot be separated, and therefore can’t be recycled.
If you don’t sort properly, or if a few people don’t sort properly and contaminate our bin, all of our efforts to cycle resources will be wasted. So it is very important that this is followed.
Also, I encourage you all to avoid packaging whenever possible. You can buy reusable mesh bags to put produce in instead of using plastic bags. The Strauss milk company sells milk in glass ($3) that you can return to the store and they give you $2 back when you return the bottle for reuse. These are two examples, but the best trash, and the best recycling, is the trash that was never created in the first place.