Recycling is one of the easiest and most important things you can do to be green. But that doesn’t mean you can recycle everything. You might know this, if you’ve ever received a note on your empty bin after a pickup day issuing a “no-no” on a certain item you included in your recyclables. But even if you haven’t, chances are you might be including some item in your batch that isn’t eligible for your local recycling efforts. So what’s the big deal?

Well, it’s certainly not the biggest threat to the ecosystem to include too many supposed recyclables—but it does cause a hassle for your friendly neighborhood recycling team. Making them sort through your reusable disposables costs them precious time—and hence, less recycling gets done.

Oils or grease on any paper or corrugated (i.e., cardboard) will generally make the item non-recyclable. The used pizza box is a great example. Something else to keep in mind are the bottle caps on plastic bottles. Many times these are also not recyclable–please check with your local recycling authority to confirm.

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