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9 Common Items That Can’t be Recycled

Recycling can go a long way toward reducing waste and helping the environment, but there are some things that can’t be recycled. While your intentions might be good, putting these items inside a recycling bin could contaminate the entire load. In the worst possible circumstance, the whole thing could be sent to a landfill. That’s why it’s good to know which items can’t be recycled. Here are some of the common items that you can’t throw into a recycling bin. Dawson’s does not recycle all of these materials, please visit our recycling page to see what we recycle and give us a call if you have any questions.

recyclable items

#1: Grease or Oil-Soaked Cardboard

Cardboard by itself can be recycled. But if it’s too greasy or has been contaminated with food waste, it can’t be. The grease and food particles can damage the recycling equipment or even contaminate everything else in the bin. A small amount of oil or crumbs is okay. But if the box is soaked through or has been saturated with cheese, put it in the composting bin or throw it in the trash.

#2: Most Lids

Most of the lids and caps on water bottles, soda bottles, detergent bottles, and other containers with a similar design are made from polypropylene (which is also called “plastic #5”) usually can’t be recycled.

#3: Packing Peanuts

Packing peanuts are made out of expanded polystyrene, so they can’t be recycled. If you get a passel of packing peanuts inside a delivery package, you should think about reusing them instead of throwing them away. A lot of commercial shipping services will also accept clean packing peanuts from consumers.

#4: Ceramic or Oven-Safe Serving Pieces

Ceramic products and oven-safe dishes (such as bakeware, cookware, and serving pieces) are meant to withstand extreme heat, so they have a higher melting point than standard glass. That’s why most recycling centers will turn them away.

#5: Styrofoam or Polystyrene Containers

Styrofoam and polystyrene containers (such as egg cartons, fast food take-out boxes, and coffee cups) can’t be recycled. They also won’t biodegrade in landfills. That’s why a lot of restaurant chains have moved away from styrofoam and polystyrene packaging.

#6: Plastic Straws and Utensils

Plastic utensils and some disposable straws are made with polystyrene. And because it costs so much to recycle, most areas won’t accept them. Before you decide to throw them in the trash, you should think about reusing them for different DIY projects.

#7: Aerosol Cans

Even though aerosol cans are made out of metal, the pressurized contents could damage recycling equipment. That’s why they should be taken out with the rest of the trash.

#8: Plastic Bags and Plastic Wrap

Plastic shopping bags and plastic wrap aren’t usually accepted at recycling centers because the lightweight material can tangle, clog, and even damage the machinery. However, a lot of grocery store chains will allow you to reuse plastic shopping bags. Some of them even have collection bins for ones that have become torn or unusable.

#9: Windows, Mirrors, or Broken Glass

Most glass jars and containers can be recycled, but not all glass is the same. You should think twice before you try to recycle any of the following:

  • Window glass.
  • Light bulbs.
  • Fluorescent light tubes.
  • Mirrors.
  • Plate glass.
  • Drinking glasses.
  • Eyeglasses.
  • Vases.
  • Glass art pieces.

If you’re looking for one of the best places for recycling in Corpus Christi, be sure to get in touch with Dawson Recycling and Disposal.