In this post today, we will be busting some common recycling myths that have led to the spread of misinformation around recycling. Recycling can be confusing, hence through this post; we will be answering your questions and busting ten common recycling myths to make more informed decisions about recycling.
Different Recycling Myths Busted
Myth: Plastic caps cannot be recycled
Fact: Most of the confusion around one of this recycling myth originates from the fact that the bottle and its cap are created from two different kinds of plastics. The Association of Plastic Recyclers has settled this debate by confirming that as technology has advanced, recycling facilities can recycle their plastic caps along with the bottle. Irrespective of everything, we must always check with your local service provider to confirm your community agrees to take plastic caps before you try to recycle them!
Myth– Materials do not need to be separated for recycling
The single-stream recycling method, which involves collecting all recyclable materials in the same container, is recommended by many recycling programs. In theory, this method does yield higher recycling rates, but in reality, it is sorting one’s materials is what keeps them clean valuable, and recyclable. The Container Recycling Institute director, Susan Collins, claims that about a quarter of single-stream recycling goes to landfill. To keep one’s materials recyclable and out of landfills, one should sort their materials by a stream (Cardboard, Paper, Commingled, and Compost) and then add them into separate containers.
Myth: Pizza boxes can be recycled.
Fact: This is a rather prevalent recycling myth. Even though several pizza restaurants send their food in corrugated cardboard boxes, recyclable boxes, they become contaminated with grease and oil, which can’t be removed from the recycling fibres process. If the cardboard recycling bin becomes contaminated or stained with the grease or oil from the pizza box, the entire package will be sent to a landfill. This can be avoided by tearing off the contaminated parts of the pizza box and placing it in the trash before sending it for recycling.
Myth: It costs lots of energy to recycle.
Fact: Let’s bust this very common recycling myth. A 2010 life cycle inventory study showed that for every pound of recycled PET flake used instead of the virgin, the energy used is reduced by 84 per cent, and GHG emissions are reduced by 72.1 per cent. The LCI study was conducted by Franklin Associates, Ltd and was sponsored by NAPCOR, the American Chemistry Council (ACC), the PET Resin Association (PETRA) and the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR)
Myth: Biodegradable items get decomposed in the landfill
Fact-Biodegradable items break down aerobically (with oxygen). However, most landfills are anaerobic (without oxygen) because trash becomes compacted so tightly. As many people believe their materials will decompose in landfills, they don’t tend to dispose of them correctly. Even though the materials are technically biodegradable, the trash entering the landfill can never fully decompose. It is always advised to do your best to recycle or compost your biodegradable materials.
Myth: If one is unsure whether an item can be recycled, they should put it into recycling anyways.
Fact: Some items that seem recyclable and are not can contaminate an entire batch of recycling. If one is unsure whether to recycle the item or not, it’s best to do some research online, or you can also ask your service provider for more information. Otherwise, it is advised to place that material into the trash. You want to avoid one non-recyclable item to contaminate the rest of your recycling.
Myth: The recycling symbols on plastic means that the item is reliable.
Fact: The Society of the Plastic Industry implemented the Resin Identification Coding System to specify the type of plastic a particular product is made with. Still, the symbols do not necessarily indicate whether the item is recyclable or not. Many consumers find plastic recycling symbols to be misleading. However, one can learn how to identify the characters as they can offer valuable information on how to dispose of the type of plastic correctly after placing it, what kind of plastic it’s made from, and whether it’s biodegradable.
Myth: All plastics can eventually be recycled.
Fact: The recycling of plastics comes with many challenges. However, the key issues are; there are several types of plastic. The cost of recycling plastics varies depending on its class, and the market demand for different types of plastic fluctuates over time.
Local authorities don’t have the means to collect all types of plastics. Collecting a specific range of plastic (like bottles/pots, tubs & trays) increases the likelihood of these items being recycled and reproducing the highest possible quality product.
Collecting a more comprehensive range of plastics such as carrier bags and plastic film increases the risk of contaminated materials because of the different types of plastic, and rejected by reprocessors.
Myth: Single-use plates and utensils labelled “biodegradable” are a sustainable alternative.
Fact: Many if not most of those “biodegradable” plates and utensils sold as sustainable alternatives to single-use plastic aren’t compostable or recyclable. The idea behind bio-plastic products is that they’re supposed to break down. But, they only break down in a very high heat industrial composting facility. For people with backyard compost bins, these plates and utensils will not decompose.
On the other hand, If these products end up in a lake, river or ocean, they’re the same as plastic. What’s more, if you put products labelled biodegradable or compostable into the recycling bin, they won’t be recycled.
Myth: Supermarkets are doing nothing much to reduce packaging.
Fact– most of the major supermarkets are doing their bit, and some of the packagings play a significant role in extending the shelf life of foodstuffs. Discarded food has a much more significant detrimental environmental impact if thrown away than packaging. For example, the shrink wrap around a cucumber can extend the cucumber’s shelf life up to 3 times.
In today’s world, recycling is the need of the hour, the more you know about different recycling myths, the more you can successfully!