Sometimes it can be confusing to determine what to throw in the recycling bin and what to trash. We finish a box of cereal and throw the box, and the bag inside, together into the recycling bin. Plastic is recyclable, right? Well, not always. The only plastics on our acceptable materials list are #1 and #2 plastics.
Plastics with a PET or PETE label are #1. These are containers for food and drinks such as:
Containers with an HDPE label are #2 plastics. These include:
This means that plastic cereal bag goes in the trash. But why does it matter? It’s so mucheasier just to toss the box and all of its contents in the recycling bin. While it’s true that the facility will sort out what doesn’t belong, it comes at a cost. As detailed in the article "Is Recycling Broken?" by Elizabeth Daigneau, plastic bags get removed by hand at the recycling facility and thrown in the trash.
The facility then has to pay for the bags to be taken to the incinerator. These costs add up and reduce the efficiency of recycling. We understand it can be puzzling to know exactly what to place in your recycling bin, and we want to make it as clear as possible. The materials we do and do not accept are all laid out for you here: What Can I Recycle.