The COVID-19 pandemic has forced people to stay at home for a very good reason – to curb the spread of the coronavirus. While you are at home, you are going to generate more waste, especially in take out containers, cardboard boxes, food and beverage packaging, etc.
As your household waste increases, it’s important to note that not all of it is recyclable. If one wrong item finds its place in the recycle bin, it can contaminate the entire batch. This means that instead of sending the recyclables to the recycling center, you would have to put the entire batch in the trash.
Therefore, you need to ensure that the right waste lands in the recycling bin. Here are tips on recycling during COVID-19 and beyond.
Items that can be recycled: Some tips on recycling right
- Plastic utensils: Not all things made of plastic are recyclable. Check up with your service provider if your plastic utensils can be recycled. If the plastic utensils are not recyclable, you have an option to either throw them as waste or clean and take them to your grocery store so that they can recycle them.
- Package deliveries: The only thing that’s recyclable from most delivery packages is the cardboard box itself. The other packaging items like bubble wrap, plastic air bags, foam peanuts, tape, etc. do not belong to the recycle bin. You can, however, reuse them for your own packing needs.
- Pizza boxes: The pizza box is recyclable, but if it is soiled with grease and cheese, it cannot be recycled. If the dirty pizza box lands in the recycle bin, it can easily contaminate the clean recyclable items in the bin. So, before putting a soiled pizza box in the recycling bin, tear off the soiled part, and place only the clean part of the box in the bin. Throw the soiled part of the box in the waste bin.
- Plastic bottles: The plastic bottles are in high demand because they can be recycled to make a host of everyday products like clothing, carpet, etc. So, make sure you recycle these plastic bottles as many as possible.
- Napkins, paper plates, and paper towels: These items cannot be recycled if they are soiled. So, avoid using these disposable items; rather, choose the real thing. If that’s not an option, opt for biodegradable items.
- Aluminum cans: All cans are recyclable. Before putting these cans in the recycle bin, shake them dry to ensure they do not ruin the other recyclable items such as paper and cardboard in the recycle bin.
Some additional recycling tips
- Always follow this order: Reduce; Reuse; Recycle. Only when you cannot reduce or reuse, consider recycling.
- Don’t forget to always bag trash, but never bag the recycling.
- Bring your cloth bag when you go out to shop.
- Make sure that your face masks, wipes, gloves, etc. are put in the trash. Don’t litter them in the parking lots or the streets.
Tips for dealing with storage problem
- Reduce the number of items to recycle. Focus on recyclable items that have the biggest impact on the environment.
- Get in touch with your local municipality to find out if they have resumed the recycling services.
- Request for an additional recycling bin or a larger bin from the city municipality.
- Purchase stackable storage bins to collect recyclables. You can also collect recycling materials in cardboard boxes or plastic storage bins. If you can afford, buy large outdoor recycling bins.
- Minimize the size of the recyclables to save space. For example, crush the cans and breakdown the cardboard boxes.
- Ask your friends or neighbors if they have extra room in their recycling bins where you can store your recyclables.
These tips will help ensure that you are doing recycling at its best while practicing social distancing during the pandemic. Recycling benefits the environment, and it is our responsibility to recycle right to protect our planet and sustain its beauty for generations to come.