We all understand the fundamentals of a paper recycling, but there is also some uncertainty about the details. Here are a few things you (may not, but) SHOULD know!
- DO NOT let the paper get wet. Since recyclers purchase paper by weight, the entire lot may get rejected if they see wet paper. Check your weather before it gets collected unless you are certain the rain won’t get in!
- No food! Dirty paper plates, napkins, paper towels, etc. are, unfortunately, trash… or should go to compost. But please, not in the recycle bin – they will quickly cross contaminate the other contents.
- Do not worry about little things like small paper clips, plastic envelope windows, staples, labels, metal envelope latches or even notebook spirals. Unlike food matter, they separate easily in processing and can be removed from the batch.
- Watch the adhesives! Heavily glued (sticky) items can ruin batches of recycled paper. Don’t toss in those “complimentary” address labels and other stickers. Post-It Notes are fine but if an envelope has a heavy self-stick flap, tear it off first.
- Allow tape in moderation. Some tape here and there won’t hurt, but if a box is wrapped in yards of shipping tape, remove it as best you can. Paper
tape is A-OK!
- Don’t shred paper unless you must – most recyclers don’t like accepting
shredded paper because it’s a challenge to sort. If you are a “shredder”, contain it in a paper bag first (or it can be composed!).
- Skip the heavy-dye, saturated papers with deep, dark colors or fluorescents. It’s difficult to bleach them back to a usable form.
- No plastic or wax coated papers (like paper cups), but glossy papers (like magazines) are acceptable.
Remember, the EPA estimates that 40% of solid waste in the U.S. is paper products… shameful! But paper can actually be recycled up to seven times, and it is easier and cheaper to make pulp from recycled fibers than from wood… awesome! And one more tidbit to share:
Each ton of recycled paper can save 17 trees… and those 17 saved trees can absorb a total of 250 pounds of carbon dioxide from the air each year!
Paper recycling rules!
Original Blog Posting: momgoesgreen.com