Monday, December 21, 2015

Are Empty Glue Bottles Recyclable?

Anyone who does any kind of craft or fix-it projects or has kids usually has a plethora of empty or half-empty glue bottles and sticks lying around the house. What can be done with these little bottles when they are no longer needed?

First, you can throw them into your regular trash. This may seem irresponsible to some but may be easier than finding a means of recycling them in most areas.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Are Gift Cards Recyclable?

Traditional gift certificates have been all but replaced by a more modern gift card resembling a credit or debit card. “The plastic the credit cards are made of is polyvinyl chloride acetate (PVCA) . . . . a composition of copolymers of vinyl acetate and vinyl chloride.” Some are made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

The plastic credit card-style gift cards are all recyclable as a specific commodity. But is there a better option for them after you have used them? You bet there is.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Are Christmas Lights Recyclable?

The history of Christmas lights dates back to the mid-1800s. In the late 1800s, President Grover Cleveland illuminated the first White House Christmas tree with electric lights.

“Decorations for winter holidays are expected to account for 63.7% of industry revenue in 2015. Christmas decorations account for over half of seasonal decorations sales at 58.9% of total industry revenue.”

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Do Pharmacies Reuse Medicine Bottles?

Most pharmacies are unable to reuse and refill medication bottles for sanitary and purity reasons.

Prescription medication is heavily regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). therefore, certain guidelines have to be followed to in order to adhere to their standards of safety. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

How Do I Prepare Items For Recycling?

Although most recyclable materials, such as plastic, aluminum, steel cans, paper, and glass are fairly widely known, some are still unaware of how to prepare these materials so they are ready to put into your recycling. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Are Packing Peanuts Recyclable?

According to the patent for packing peanuts filed in 1962, Robert E. Holden was named as the inventor.

Packing peanuts, used for packaging fragile items, was also touted as a material that could be used as insulation since it proved to be a good heat insulator.

Originally packing peanuts were made of foam, but since the 1990s there have been more “green” ingredients used such as corn or grain sorghum. “Polystyrene-based packing peanuts were invented in 1965 and have been used ever since…and can be used over and over again.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Are Gum Wrappers Recyclable?

Chewing gum, regardless of brand or flavor, is made from the same basic ingredients. These basic ingredients are gum base, softeners, sweeteners and flavorings.

Gum base is the main ingredient in chewing gum, which makes it soft and chewable. Although the main ingredients of gum are the same, some of the flavoring ingredients are kept a secret with very guarded recipes.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Are Candy Wrappers Recyclable?

Candy is used as a gift, a reward, an incentive, and a treat. In all actuality, a very small percentage of people don’t like candy.

“Candy canes, candy corn, candy hearts: whether Christmas or Easter, Halloween or Valentine’s day, every holiday has its trademark sweet, and customers are more than happy to hand over the money for a bit of holiday cheer. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Are Telephone Books Recyclable?

“The first telephone book was published in New Haven, (Connecticut,) by the New Haven District Telephone Company in February 1878. It was one page long and held fifty names. No numbers were listed, as the operator would connect you.

The page was divided into four headings: Residential, Professional, Miscellaneous, and Essential Service listings.” The page measured approximately 5.5”X8.25”.”

Monday, September 21, 2015

Are Pet Food Bags Recyclable?

Purina puts a great deal of thought and research into the type of bags their pet food goes into,  Things like strength, durability, moisture control, and the ability to resist tearing are among the top priorities.   
and many factors are considered in this process.

Purina's material of choice to encompass all of these areas is polypropylene.  Although many of their criteria are met by using it and plastic is technically recyclable, some recycling centers are not yet equipped to recycle polypropylene.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

How Small Is Too Small To Recycle?

As referenced in a previous blog titled, “Do You Have Recycling Bias?” the term “Recycling Bias” refers to the propensity of people to throw larger or full sheets of paper into the recycling bin while bits and scraps of paper went into the trash.” 

But how small is too small when it comes to recycling? 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Are Potato Chip Bags Recyclable?

Potato chips are almost the number one snack food among Americans. All flavors and types.   According to Frito Lay’s website, “they say they sell about $12 million worth of potato chips so if you break that down into a general $3 per bag, that makes it about 4 million bags sold per year.

With so many bags of potato chips being sold each year, where should the empty bags go?

Are cereal Bags Recyclable?

The mid-19th century breakfast of choice consisted mainly of fatty meats and were largely lacking in any type of dietary fiber. In 1863, James Caleb Jackson, operator of the Jackson Sanitorium in New York and a staunch vegetarian, worked to redefine breakfast.

“The first ever breakfast cereal was Granola, but the cereal never caught on commercially because the heavy bran nuggets needed soaking overnight before they were tender enough to eat.”

Thursday, September 10, 2015

What Can Wood Pallets Be Recycled Into?

With a multitude of products being shipped around the world every day, used pallets are not hard to come by. Although they are reusable, eventually they reach the end of their life cycle.
What can be done with them then?

Aside from pallet projects and furniture being all the rage on Pinterest, old unwanted pallets can be ground and chipped up and made into animal bedding.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Are Bowling Balls Recyclable?

“Coverstock is the outer shell of a bowling ball. There are four basic types of Coverstocks on the market today: plastic/polyester, urethane, reactive, and particle.”

In the center of a bowling ball, you will unexpectedly find a misshapen weight block, or core, which affects the spin of the bowling ball and how it curves as it rolls down the lane. The weight block is made of a combination of materials, including iron oxide, which is not specifically a recyclable material in some conventional recycling processes.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Are Flour Bags Recyclable?

Baking has been a pastime as much as a tradition in households across the globe for many generations. As necessity dictates, packaging that baking ingredients come in have changed and evolved.

These ingredients have come in everything from tins to sacks, to cardboard boxes. Some containers, however, have gone by the wayside due to environmental and ecological demands.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Are Bed Pillows Recyclable?

When an item outlives its usefulness for one person, the decision has to be made to throw it away, recycle it, or give it away to be reused by someone else.

Depending on the item, however, it may not qualify for the recyclable category. As much as we want to recycle certain things instead of throw them away, some products are not recyclable by most conventional processes.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Can I Recycle My Old Cell Phone?

With the dramatic rise in cell phone sales within the past 5 years alone, the question of how to recycle or dispose of them has been brought to the forefront.

Electronic waste has also been somewhat of a dilemma lately. Some feel the definition of electronic waste is “anything with a cord”, while others feel that there are certain components of a product that make them hazardous.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Do Most Newspapers Get Recycled?

An estimated “56 million newspapers are sold daily. On Sunday, over 60 million are sold.” Where do all of these newspapers go after they are read? Good question.

In an ever-expanding electronic world, a growing number of people read the news on a laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Some people, however, choose to still get an actual newspaper everyday. These newspapers have to go somewhere…hopefully into a recycling bin.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Which Type Of Egg Cartons Are Best?

Eggs are generally a staple in every American home. You'll be hard-pressed to find one household in the United States that does no have at least one egg in the refrigerator.

Eggs used to be gathered in a basket or an apron and either used personally or sold to friends and family. Today the production, collection, and sales are accomplished very differently.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Are Post-It Notes Recyclable?

3m, the makers of Post-It Notes, is a very conscientious company who has done real-life trials on the
ability to recycle one of their most widely-known products, the Post-It Note.

The Post-It Note, commonly referred to with the genericized term, "sticky note", was invented by accident.

Post-It Notes are "small pieces of paper with a re-adherable strip of glue on its back, made for temporarily attaching notes to documents and other surfaces. A unique low-tack pressure-sensitive adhesive allows the notes to be easily attached, removed, and even re-posted elsewhere without leaving residue. Originally small yellow squares, Post-it notes and related products are now available in a wide range of colors, shapes, and sizes."

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Is Bubble Wrap Recyclable?

In 1957 two inventors named Alfred Fielding and Marc Chavannes were attempting to create a three-dimensional plastic wallpaper. Although the idea was a failure, they found that what they did make could be used as packing material.

Now known as “bubble wrap”, this plastic material contains evenly spaced, protruding air-filled pockets. The term “bubble wrap” is a generic trademark owned by Sealed Air Corporation, co-founded by Alfred Fielding in 1960.

Are Photographs Recyclable?

Photographs are printed on paper that is treated with a thin layer of a light-sensitive chemical formula.

The chemical that is added to the paper essentially plasticizes it and adds enough chemicals that the paper is left without the conventional fibers needed for the paper to be recyclable.

Monday, June 8, 2015

What is a PAYT Program?

According to, Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT) programs encourage waste reduction through recycling by charging residents based on the amount of trash they throw away.

Trash services are traditionally charged as a flat rate based on whatever service level they choose, no matter how much they throw away. PAYT programs ultimately charge customers just as if it were any other usage-based service. Under these programs, fees are usually charged by the bag or trash can they use. Some PAYT programs, however, charge residents based on the actual weight of a trash by using trucks equipped with on-board scales.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Is My Mattress Recyclable?

It is widely accepted that today’s mattresses are designed to last the average consumer about 7 – 10 years. 

The actual amount of time is based on several factors such as amount of use, weight of user, if allergies are involved, and if the user is experiencing a bad night’s sleep.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Can I Leave Packing Tape On Cardboard Boxes?

Corrugated boxes, more commonly referred to as “cardboard boxes”, have a long history.  The term “corrugate” means bent into curves or folds.

First invented as corrugated paper in 1856 by Edward Allen and Edward Healey, this material was the result of flat paper being fed through “a simple hand machine made of two fluted rolls”. The wrinkled paper was used to line the tall hats that men used to wear to keep them straight and upright.

Monday, May 25, 2015

How Can I Recycle Crayons?

Recycling involves many facets of reuse such as putting used items through conventional recycling processes to make new items, upcycling items to repurpose them, giving them to others to cycle them through new users, and creating new items on your own through several methods.

One way to recycle items is to take small pieces of used items such as soap, candles, and crayons and combine them to make larger, more manageable pieces.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

What Hazardous Chemicals Are In Electronic Waste?

Electronic Waste, also referred to as "E-Waste", describes discarded electrical or electronic devices. "Used electronics which are destined for reuse, resale, salvage, recycling or disposal are also considered as e-waste. 

Informal processing of electronic waste in developing countries may cause serious health and pollution problems, as these countries have limited regulatory oversight of e-waste processing."

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

How Do I Dispose of Aerosol Cans?

Aerosol cans contain substances that are kept in a container under pressure and are released as a fine spray when a button is pressed

“Canisters filled with insecticide and propellants were used to protect U.S. servicemen from insects carrying diseases such as malaria. Shortly after the war, Robert Abplanalp, founder of Precision Valve Corporation (PVC), invented the first mass-produced aerosol valve.

Monday, May 18, 2015

How Do I Dispose Of a Used Propane Tank?

Propane tanks come is all sizes from a small 2lb tank for a small grill or heater to a large 1,000 gallon
tank for commercial or industrial use.

Strangely, a 57 lb tank holds 46 lbs of propane, a 120 lb tank holds 96 lbs of propane, a 500 lb tank holds 400 lbs of propane, and a 1,000 gallon tank holds 800 lbs of propane.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Are Napkins and Paper Towels Recyclable?

As we learned in a previous recycling blog, “the grade of paper is determined by fiber length, which shortens after each trip through the recycling process. After being recycled five to seven times, the fibers become too short to make new paper and will need to be mixed with new, un-recycled fibers.”

Napkins and paper towels are easily made from very small, shorter fibers. In fact, they are one of, if not the last, item made from recycled paper before it can’t be recycled again.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Are Mirrors Recyclable?

Mirrors have been around in some form or another for thousands of years. People started seeing their reflections in ponds and lakes.  They then used polished stone and metal pieces to give a somewhat crude image of themselves.

Mirrors made from these materials were unfortunately very expensive and were only available to the extremely wealthy. Less fortunate people still used the stand-by of looking at themselves in ponds…sometimes even standing in line to do so.
 “In 1835, German chemist Justus von Liebig developed a process for applying a thin layer of metallic silver to one side of a pane of clear glass. This technique was soon adapted and improved upon, allowing for the mass production of mirrors.”
Because these more modern-day mirrors are not made from a single type of material, they are not considered a recyclable item by most processes. Between the chemically treated glass and the adherence of a metallic substance, mirrors are still considered a trash item.
For more information on trash and recycling options visit

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Are Magazines Recyclable?

What generally makes a magazine a magazine is the shiny and slightly thicker paper it is printed on. Is this type of paper recyclable? Absolutely.

Paper is categorized by factors such as grade and weight. The weight of a particular type of paper is calculated by the weight of a ream (500 sheets). Forty pound paper is a thinner paper than the 70lb variety. “Weight has not only an effect on the feel of the magazine (heavier paper will generally be thicker and less easy to fold) but also shipping/mailing costs of the final magazine.”

Thursday, April 30, 2015

How Do I Safely Dispose of Used Needles?

There are many injectable medications available that don’t have an oral or topical counterpart, along with others But what should be done with the needles after they are used?

Used needles, also commonly called “sharps”, are easily disposed of by following a few simple guidelines.

First, if the syringe you are using has a cap or plastic protection sleeve, replace it after use. This is the first line of immediate protection while you are still handling it.

Monday, April 27, 2015

What Is One Of The Most Littlered Items?

On a recent family bike ride we rode on a couple back roads that were sadly littered with so much trash, mostly consisting of water and various alcohol bottles.

According to and, approximately 50 billion water bottles were sold last year in the United States alone, with almost 200 billion being produced each year worldwide.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Can I Put Broken Glass In My Recycling?

Through the recycling collection process alone, glass jars and bottles generally tend to break. If they survive the collection, the sorting process will almost certainly do the trick.

Due to its sheer weight and density, glass makes up a large part of residential, commercial, and industrial recycling. As delicate of a product as glass is, it can break or crack during the shipping process. It is almost impossible to prevent.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

How Can I Keep Food Waste Out Of My Trash?

Methane, a potent greenhouse gas 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide for having the potential of causing or continuing global warming, is created by rotting food disposed in a landfill as it decomposes. 

Methane is also a flammable gas that can become dangerous if allowed to build up in concentration.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Should I Recycle Junk Mail Or Shred It?

It is not widely agreed upon as to how much junk mail Americans receive each year, but all are in
agreement that it is entirely too much. Catalogs, insurance offers, magazines, coupon books, and credit card offers, just to name a few.

Some say that the average amount of junk mail delivered to each Americans is around 41 pounds. In fact, a whole organization has been formed around this theory called,

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Are Window Envelopes Recyclable?

Windowed, or more commonly referred to as “window” envelopes, were patented by Americus F. Callahan of Chicago, Il in 1902 and introduced shortly thereafter.

The original idea was that the film covering the window opening be made of a thin layer of rice paper. This has since been replaced by clear plastic, but the general design of the envelope has remained virtually unchanged.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Are Store Receipts Recyclable?

Whether or not an item is recyclable is sometimes a cut and dry, black or white, yes or no answer. Water bottles and aluminum cans, yes; soiled napkins and items containing food or product residue, no.

Unfortunately, gray areas exist considering the vastness the types of materials used in the production of…well, everything.

Plastics, for example, have so many different densities that some are recyclable and some are not, by conventional means.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Where Did the Recycling Symbol Come From?

The recycling symbol is actually an internationally recognized symbol denoting that an item is
recyclable by conventional means. It is comprised of 3 chasing arrows in an unending single-sided looped surface, also called a Möbius strip, representing continuity.

Believe it or not, the recycling symbol is considered to be in the public domain and is not trademarked. It can be copied, transformed, or manipulated to fit any needs.  It can also be printed or portrayed in any color.

A contest for high school and college students, sponsored by the Container Corporation of America, was held to find a universally accepted symbol for recyclable items. This came as a result of worldwide attention to environmental issues which ultimately brought about the first Earth Day.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Are Paper Cups Recyclable?

Disposable paper cups are made from a combination of materials. A thicker layer of paper makes up the majority of its contents, along with a thin layer of wax or plastic film.

Wax or plastic layers keep the cups from leaking liquid, regardless of whether they are for hot or cold beverages. Although this feature makes paper cups convenient and effective, it also renders them unrecyclable by most conventional means.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

What Are Some Interesting Recycling Facts or Statistics?

Recycling has become much more popular and increasingly more necessary in the past few decades.

So much is known about recyclable items and recycling processes, but there are some little-known facts and statistics surrounding recycling.  They range from interesting, to surprising, to down right alarming.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Is Aluminum Foil Recyclable?

Foil made from a very thin sheet of tin, widely known as tin foil, was commercially available before its aluminum counterpart. Tin foil was marketed commercially from the late nineteenth into the early twentieth century but proved to have some kinks to iron out.

Tin foil was far less pliable than aluminum foil and tended to give a slight tin taste to food that was wrapped in it. The term "tin foil" survives in the English language as a generic term for the newer aluminum foil and proved to be useful for other things than just food packaging. In fact, the first audio recordings on phonograph cylinders were made on tin foil.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

What Is Upcycling?

According to, upcycling is the process of "taking something that is no longer
needed or wanted and giving it new life as something that is useful or creative". The term upcycling surfaced in the mid '90s and gained popularity in 2002 when William McDonough and Michael Braungart published the book, Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things.

How does upcycling differ from recycling? There are some similarities between the two, but some distinct differences as well.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

What Is A Bag Ban?

Plastic bags are lightweight, strong, convenient alternative to paper grocery bags. Flexiblity and and resistance to condensation also make plastic bags a more attractive choice.  

Compared to paper and reusable bags, plastic bags are far more popular among shoppers for everything from grocery stores to pharmacies, and retail stores. They are also easy to store and reusable for many purposes. 

Despite the popularity  of plastic grocery bags, a growing number of municipalities and  states are enacting laws aimed at reducing their use.  Some have even targeted paper grocery bags. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Should I Remove Lids From My Glass Recyclables?

Glass jars or bottles may have either plastic or glass lids on them which may lead to some confusion when throwing these into your recycling bin. Should they be removed? Are they, themselves, recyclable? Will leaving them on contaminate the whole load of recycling?

At the Recycling Works facility in Elkhart, Indiana, their state-of-the-art facility is well-equipped to handle these questions....and these commodities. Recycling Works employs the help of such a sophisticated sorting machine that the lids on glass containers do not have to be removed before placing the containers into regular recycling.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Can I Recycle Tires?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Americans wear out about 290 million tires a year, and recycle 233 million of them.This number is actually astonishing and lands way above the recycling rate for some items that we would think would be recycled at a far higher rate.

Aluminum recycling rates are at an average of about 66%, while PET plastic recycling comes in at a disappointing rate of only about 35%.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

How Do I Dispose of Used Cooking Oil?

Cooking oil is used more and more, especially around the holidays while deep frying that turkey for your Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. But what should you do with the leftover oil? There are a few schools of thought on this topic.

Recycle It - Some feel that you are easily able to recycle it if there is a facility within your community who specialize in this type of thing. Recycling used cooking oil, or motor oil for that matter, involves a process of straining out larger pieces of food and depositing it into a unit specifically labeled for oil recycling. From there, it goes to another facility where it is refined into biodiesel fuel.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Why Can't I Put Window Glass Into My Recycling?

Glass is one of the materials that can be infinitely recycled without losing its purity, strength, or
quality. Very few food and beverage packaging options can make the same claim.

But if glass is this easy and valuable to recycle, why can't ALL glass be thrown into the recycling?