Recycling dos and don'ts: Which items should be recycled and which should be thrown away?

Throwing trash into recycling bins can be a problem

DETROIT – Do you recycle? Give yourself two points if the answer is yes, because recycling is good for both the environment and the economy. But we all need to do our part to make it work, and that requires some effort.

Recycling has gotten easier. We no longer need to sort all that paper, plastic, glass and metal. Most communities offer one big cart for all of your recyclables. The sorting happens at a facility, such as the Recycling Authority in Southfield, where they process 300 tons of material every day.

But that one-cart system has a downside known as wishful recycling. We wish that everything was recyclable, so we toss it into the bin and hope for the best.

That contamination costs time and money that has forced some communities to abandon recycling altogether.

What you should put in the recycle bin:

  • All metal cans, tins, and aluminum foil
  • Empty aerosol cans
  • Rinsed glass bottles and jars (Lids and labels are okay)
  • Rinsed plastic bottles and containers
  • Newspapers, catalogs and magazines, junk mail, household paper.
  • Cardboard boxes

What you should  NOT put in the recycle bin:

  • Styrofoam (packing material or egg cartons)
  • Plastic bags (grocery, dry cleaning, or trash bags)
  • Wire or plastic hangers
  • Garden hose
  • Any container with food stains or grease (such as a pizza box)
  • Batteries

Before you toss something into the recycle bin, take a few seconds to consider if it belongs there. It’s way better to be part of the solution than part of the problem.

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