I’ve been writing a lot about recycling recently and thought it would be helpful to have a page devoted to recycling resources. It’s an important topic, particularly with significant changes taking place in the recycling industry that will impact our communities.
I’ll add to Recycling Resources as I come across new information, but let me know if I’ve missed anything!
Table of Contents
- Recycling 101: What is Recycling?
- How to Recycle – Curbside
- Recycling No-Nos
- How to Recycle Beyond Curbside
- Recycling Statistics and Metrics
- Specific Recycling Rules and Locators for Your Community
- Get Involved: Recycling Campaigns and Projects
- Recycling News and Publications
Recycling 101: What is Recycling?
Green That Life’s post — Does Recycling Work? — outlines the recycling process from beginning to end. It’s worth a read to understand the process and its challenges.
How to Recycle – Curbside
Keep America Beautiful‘s How to Recycle page lists a few commonly recycled materials and how to recycle them.
Waste Management, the country’s largest residential garbage and recycling company devotes its page, Recycle Often Recycle Right, to explaining how to recycle. It provides downloadable materials to get you organized and ready to recycle right.
The EPA has a How to Recycle page with guides for how to recycle the most common recyclables.
National Public Radio’s Plastics Recycling site provides an excellent visual of what plastics you can and can’t recycle.
Always check your local waste authority for details, but these are the common items that can’t go in the recycling bin (Source: EPA):
- Garden hoses
- Sewing needles
- Bowling balls
- Food or food-soiled paper
- Propane tanks or cylinders
- Aerosol cans that aren’t empty
- Broken glass
- Broken light bulbs
Hazardous Waste Disposal
For more information on how to properly dispose of hazardous waste, visit the EPA’s page of U.S. State environmental agencies. This page provides links to all the state regulatory agencies that handle hazardous waste, including additional state-specific information.
How to Recycle Beyond Curbside
Personal Creations lists over 200 items that can be recycled beyond your curbside items and provides detailed information on how to recycle these items.
Locators for Specific Non-Curbside Recyclables
Clothing. I cover clothes recycling options in my post on the topic.
Cork. ReCork will collect your unwanted cork at designated drop-off locations. The cork is recycled into a variety of products, including shoe soles and yoga accessories.
Electronics. E-Cycling Central has a searchable directory of reuse, recycling, and donation programs. Just click on the map to find a location near you.
“Non-Recyclables.” TerraCycle, a private company, will collect and recycle almost any form of waste. Just type the item you want to recycle into their search bar. A fee is sometimes applied for their service.
Recycling Statistics and Metrics
EPA’s Facts and Figures about Materials, Waste and Recycling. This page is packed with information and up-to-date stats. You’ll find the annual report a go-to source for all data related to recycling in this country. This is one of the essential recycling resources for detailed metrics.
Recycle Nation‘s Surprising Recycling Statistics page is worth taking a look at. It really is surprising to learn how much waste each of us generates.
Specific Recycling Rules and Locators for Your Community
Your Town or City Website
Always start with your local town or city’s website. The waste management page of your municipality’s website will have most of what you need to find.
Earth911. Search by zip code for curbside information and other recycling locations. With over 350 materials and 100,000+ listings, Earth911 maintains one of North America’s most extensive recycling databases.
Simply dial 1-800-CLEANUP, or enter in the material you’re trying to recycle along with your zip code.
Keep America Beautiful has a searchable database by zip code and by material.
Get Involved: Recycling Campaigns and Projects
Campaign to Institute Standardized Labels
Recycle Across America is a non profit organization that has created a standardized labeling system for recycling bins to make it easier for people to begin to recycle right, wherever they might be. The website includes:
- Labels for every recycling sorting situation and need.
- Recycling toolkit to create a successful recycling program in your community or school.
- Email template to contact your local officials.
The Recycling Partnership‘s anti-contamination kit is designed to provide steps, tools, and resources to help you improve the quality of your community’s recycling program.\
Projects for Educators and Students
The EPA‘s Reduce, Reuse, Recycling Resources page for students and educators lists several educational activities and initiatives for students.
Campaigns for Companies
Sustainable Packaging Coalition offers several recycling resources for its members, including projects, tools, and educational courses.
Recycling News and Publications
Waste Dive has an excellent and well maintained state-by-state summary of recycling news. Given the transformation in the recycling industry with China’s recycling policy changes, Waste Dive is well worth an occasional scan to monitor changes in your state.
Science Daily has a Recycling and Waste section that’ll keep you up-to-date with the latest recycling news.
Waste360‘s recycling resources, along with its numerous waste-related expos and events, are targeted to industry professionals. For the rest of us non-industry folks, it’s still worth a visit for the latest news in its recycling section.
Green That Life’s list of Waste Reduction books is worth checking for a more detailed read on recycling and waste reduction.