Guest Post by Kelsey Rausch
Consider this: the average person generates up to four pounds of trash every day.
With this in mind, it comes as no surprise that there are piles of garbage sitting in landfills, our waterways, and our public parks with seemingly no place to go. To cut down on all this trash and to make Mother Nature a bit happier, it is important to really focus on your recycling efforts and to watch what you are consuming.
If you're trying to teach your kids about the importance of recycling, there are some myths concerning what exactly you should and shouldn't put in your family's recycling bin. In an effort to try and clear up the confusion, here are some things you should trash, not save.
Plastic bagsPlastic bags cause a host of problems at the recycling sorting facility as they get all tangled in the machines and stop the production line. Instead, keep these separate and reuse them as often as you can!
Plastic lidsPlastic lids for yogurt, drinks, and non-perishable foods are often too thin and become hidden by the paper and cardboard at the plant when being sorted. So, they tend to not get separated and when plastic mixes in with paper it makes the recycling process even harder.
Pizza boxesThe grease that builds up on the bottom of a pizza box can contaminate the recycling process. According to Oregon Metro, recycling plants add water to the paper scraps to make a slurry that is then formed into recyclable paper. While there are filters to separate these paper fibers from heavier paper clips and staples, the oil adheres to the paper fibers and cannot be flushed out. So as a result, the paper has a weaker structure riddled with stains.
Paper cupsYou know those handy paper cups that make traveling with coffee or a hot drink easier? Unfortunately, they are not completely paper and are lined with a thin plastic coating. This waxy, plastic coating is hard to separate from the rest of the paper in the pulping stage -- and the same goes for wax paper, dog food bags, bubble-wrapped envelopes, and thin cardboard envelopes.
Paper towelsEven though paper towels are regularly made from recycled materials, once they are used they should never be recycled. This is because food particles will mix in with the recycling process and contaminate the other materials that are being separated at the same time.
So moms and dads out there, keep this list in mind when recycling and you'll be on your way to creating a happier Mother Nature while teaching your children great lifelong habits!
Kelsey R. is a writer and an avid world traveler. When she's not writing or listening to 80s music, you can find her exploring different countries, taking selfies with her dog Lady, and in constant search for the perfect brownie recipe.