Let's talk plastics for America Recycles Day

Thursday, Nov. 15, is America Recycles Day. Plastics are ubiquitous in our society these days and with the advent of single stream recycling we were told we could recycle everything. Unfortunately, because of recent restrictions in the recycling industry (which we will be the focus for Thursday), most of the plastics we've been putting in our recycling bin are no longer acceptable.

Homewood Recycling can only accept plastic bottles and jugs because they are the only types of plastic that have value in the recycling market right now. So please #recyclesmart and only put things like soda, juice, and water bottles, as well as, milk jugs, laundry detergent and shampoo bottles in the green bin. Oh and everyone always asks about the lids. Screw them back on so they can get recycled too but make sure the bottle is empty.

So what about other types of plastic like your yogurt or blueberry containers or plastic takeout containers? Unfortunately, these plastics are made with different resins or techniques and are more difficult and costly to melt down to make new plastic. If it costs more to make a new product with recycled content then manufacturers will likely use virgin material making the recyclable item less valuable and no longer acceptable. It makes us really sad to have to throw these into the incinerator bin so try to purchase less disposable plastic and then you don't have to feel guilty.

Oh and remember those to-go containers from the Homewood cafes are made from corn so they should be composted and should NOT go in the recycling bin! That goes for those iced coffee and tea cups as well.

Lastly, if you forgot your reusable bag at the grocery store and you have a plastic bag or any other kind of stretchy plastic like Amazon packaging or dry cleaning bags you can recycle them at the grocery store or save them up and put in a request for Homewood Recycling to pick them up. They can be made into durable, compressed lumber products for deck and benches.

To learn more about waste reduction and diversion on the Homewood campus follow Homewood Recycling on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

Take the America Recycles Day pledge.