A lot of us know the basics about recycling—plastic, glass, aluminum, and paper. But products and product packaging comes in so many forms sometimes it’s hard to know what can be set aside from trash and what should not be in the recycling bin. That’s what today’s Green Quick Fixes are about—challenging recyclables!
Yellow legal paper?
Almost all paper can be recycled, however most office programs focus on white and computer paper.
Residential programs are most often “single-stream” or “mixed municipal,” and take yellow-lined, notebook, and color paper, store receipts, labels, tea bags tags, clothing tags, envelopes (leave the window in)—almost all paper.
Metal pieces are spun off in the recycling process, so staples, paper clips, and even spirals from notebooks could be throw in the bin, too.
Mylar or Tyvek envelopes? Foil or plastic wrapping paper?
Any envelope, or paper, that cannot be torn is not recyclable. Non-paper gift wrap is also not.
I do not recommend using shiny paper for kindling–you will release toxins into the air!
Yes and no.
Plastic corks and screw tops (provided they are not lined with plastic like a lot of beer caps) are recyclable and can go right in the recycling bin.
If they are real cork, than they are organic material and can be composted and used like mulch. Otherwise, they are not recyclable. They can be reused—trivets, doorstops, etc…
Ms. Green Quick Fixes Creation: My boyfriend’s brother has many awesome homemade wine cork trivets. So, when I collected enough corks I broke out the hot glue gun and it took me no time at all to make this cute trivet laced with so many memories! I was so excited about it, I volunteered to take wine corks from the green cafe I work at a few nights a week, and when the manager was getting rid of a warped breadboard, I conjured a colossal trivet. I’m still collecting corks and hope to create the super trivet soon.
Most are made of lead or aluminum, and they are recyclable.
Beer bottle tops?
Yes and no.
Bottle caps are made from a variety of materials—tinplate, plated sheet metal, steel, and some have plastic linings.
Metal bottle caps can be recycled.
Lined bottle caps can be reused in craft projects (belts, wall art, picture frames, etc…). One Canadian company makes beer bottle caps into fishing lures.
Beer can tabs?
They are made of aluminum and can go right in with the cans.
Foil pans and pie plates? To Go Containers?
Yes, but they should be semi-clean.
Of course, you may end up using a lot of water and energy (if you run water hot) to clean off a really sticky one. That could eliminate recycling from being the low-impact disposal option for that container. Try wiping down with a washable kitchen cloth instead of running the tap.