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Guide to Better Recycling in Westchester


Is cling wrap recyclable? Can you recycle receipts made from thermal paper? Can you recycle organics? These and other recycling questions are answered online by Recyclebank, a company that encourages members in cities across the country to do good things for the planet by offering various types of rewards.  Recyclebank is focusing on the problem of contamination of recyclable materials– how it occurs and how it can be avoided.

For example, this month’s content on Contamination Education on Recyclebank’s website notes a few key topics:  Which materials can and cannot be recycled by recycling machines and why it’s important to identify them; and making sure that recyclables are clean and dry–liquid and food particles can ruin the quality of the recyclable goods such as paper and cardboard.

Waste Disposal Streams

If you are currently recycling at home, you probably are sorting your waste materials into several different “streams:” for trash, recycling, and organic waste. For your recycled materials, each of the following types requires unique processes: metal, glass, plastic, paper, and organic waste like food and plant clippings.recylingorganicsbin

According to Recyclebank, if you don’t sort recyclable materials correctly, they usually end up at a landfill. “If the landfill facility does not reclaim recyclables already buried in the landfill (an emerging trend), or if it is not a facility that converts waste to energy, much of the commercial and practical value of this waste will be lost. Furthermore, precious space will be unnecessarily taken up at the landfill. Waste like paper and fiber products that had the potential to be recycled will instead decompose anaerobically, producing the strong greenhouse gas methane.”

To find out more about Recyclebank’s programs– how to become a member and local shopping rewards, you can visit their website. Additional recycling advice and local resources are also available at Earth 911 — by typing in your zip code, you can search their database for recycling information on a wide range of products and materials.

 Photos courtesy Recylebank and Earth 911.
Joyce Newman
Joyce Newman
Joyce H. Newman is an Emmy Award-winning environmental journalist, educator, and gardener. She holds a Certificate in Horticulture from The New York Botanical Garden, and is a tour guide there.
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