It is a similar struggle for many: you approach the basket, look at the object in your hand and ask yourself: “Is it recyclable?”
As climate change in Austin becomes more and more evident, people may find themselves throwing plastic cutlery, Styrofoam and even HEB plastic grocery bags into recycling in hopes that they will be diverted from the landfill and turned into something useful once again. .
The process of throwing non-recyclable items into the trash is known as “recycling of desires” and is actually doing more harm than good. On this National Recycling Day, the American-statesman asked the city some of the hottest questions about what goes into the blue bin or, for apartment dwellers, the city’s recycling bins.
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Which plastic items can be recycled?
Austin residents are encouraged to recycle hard plastics, such as water and soda bottles, jars and tubs, non-battery powered toys, buckets, baskets, and lounge chairs.
If you are recycling a plastic bottle or jug, remember to keep the cap tightly closed when placing it in the blue bin. If you place the bottle cap separate from the bottle, the cap cannot be processed through the recycling machines.
Are Solo Red mugs recyclable?
A survey by HomeAdvisor found that Austin area residents are very curious whether Red Solo mugs are recyclable.
In Austin, Solo red mugs can be recycled with the regular city pickup service. So, after your next party, feel free to throw them in your blue basket.
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Can i recycle plastic bags?
The answer to this question is no and yes. The City of Austin doesn’t allow plastic bags, including freezers or any kind of plastic grocery bags, in its residential recycling because they often get trapped inside cars and break.
So what can you do with all those plastic grocery bags once their life runs out?
Grocery stores often accept unwanted plastic bags and recycle them in ways that don’t damage sorting machines. Austin’s Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center, at 2514 Business Center Drive in Southeast Austin, does the same. The center, near Ben White Boulevard and Todd Lane, accepts all plastic bags, but drop-off appointments are required. Appointments can easily be made online at austintexas.gov/dropoffschedule.
City leaders are still encouraging residents to stop using plastic bags altogether, asking everyone to switch to reusable bags instead.
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And the polystyrene?
Styrofoam is recyclable, but still not in the blue bin. This item requires special processing, so it must be returned by appointment to the City’s Recycling and Reuse collection center. This includes styrofoam packaging, cups and take-out containers, as long as the items are clean and dry.
Styrofoam packaging peanuts are too small to process, so you should reuse or avoid them altogether whenever possible. “We recommend replacing Styrofoam with reusable items or other materials whenever possible,” city officials said in a statement. “For example, you could bring your own reusable container to take home leftovers rather than using the supplied Styrofoam container.”
This city recycling idea is also a good reason to be a Statesman subscriber: “Consider reusing newspapers as packaging material rather than buying packing peanuts.”
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The midterms are over; how to recycle my election signs?
Take your election signs to the Recycle and Reuse collection center to be recycled; no appointment is required for those items. There will be a collection box in front only for the signs (corrugated plastic signs and metal frames containing them will be accepted).
What common items should be in the recycling bin but often aren’t?
“Glass bottles and aluminum cans can be recycled an infinite number of times; they do not degrade or lose quality when they are recycled,” city leaders said. “However, it takes thousands of years to break down in the landfill.
“Not only is aluminum 100% recyclable, it also uses 95% less energy to recycle an old can into a new one. But Americans continue to throw away more than 1 million tons of aluminum every year.”
What about the old batteries and electronics?
Old batteries and electronics should never be thrown into a residential recycling bin, as they can easily start fires in sorting facilities.
Many electronic devices are accepted at the city’s recycling and reuse collection center.
People with still usable electronic devices can search the Austin Reuse Directory to find a place to donate, sell, repair, or rent used items. Austin, Cedar Park, and Round Rock residents all have access to locations within the directory.
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Can i recycle plastic cutlery?
Any plastic fork, spoon or knife you put in the recycling bin will end up in the landfill. These items are too small to recycle, so residents should actively try to avoid using them.
Buying a reusable travel cutlery set can help reduce the roughly 40 billion pieces of plastic cutlery thrown away each year.
I don’t have compost pickup; what should I do?
Items that should only be used for composting include greasy pizza boxes, napkins, and other dirty paper. These items, unfortunately, have to end up in the trash if composting isn’t available. But if the top of the pizza box is clean of grease and food, it can be torn off and recycled.
For apartment dwellers who want to learn how to compost, there are several DIY composting bins available for under $ 100. You can then compost at home, turning food waste and dirty paper products into new soil for your. garden or house plants.
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