What are Commingled Items?!
When you place household items like glass, plastic, paper, etc., into a recycling bin for your neighborhood’s weekly pickup, you’re mixing together various different recyclables. If you want to get technical, these products are called “commingled items.” The recycling truck will take these items to a sorting station, where products undergo a process to be sorted into various groups.
A Real Life Example
Recently at a neighborhood’s Homeowner’s Association (HOA) meeting, a man stood up and tried to convince his neighbors that the trash and recycling go to the same place, so it didn’t matter if things were placed in the recycling bins or not. (He later admitted to losing his recycling calendar and was too lazy to figure out what days the recycling was picked up.)
However, after just a little bit of digging, we confirmed that, in fact, recyclable items definitely do get sorted and treated differently than regular trash, which goes directly to the landfills.
So if you have a grouchy neighbor who’s convinced that recycling’s not effective, just keep on taking care of the environment and do your part to recycle. And if you’re up for the challenge, feel free to educate him on this topic!
What About Scrappers?
Some neighborhoods experience a weekly occurrence that may be considered a bit odd. Each week, people drive through neighborhoods searching for discarded appliances and other items that can be taken apart and turned in for cash.
While some may not like the fact that people are trolling through their neighborhood, it’s actually helpful to the environment. For example, if you set out a broken refrigerator on your curb, a scrapper may take the fridge and disassemble the parts to turn them in for cash. This helps the scrapper, and it also keeps large, non-recyclable items out of the landfills. While it probably won’t produce a lot of cash for them, it makes the saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” very fitting in this case!
Keep in mind that every item that you can recycle keeps things out of the landfills, which is best for the environment. So if you’re already doing this, keep up the good work! And if not, find out how you can pick up a recycling bin through your city today, or where you can take items to be recycled.
Are you recycling household items? Use #RecycleGuide and share on Facebook and Twitter how you’re recycling commingled items.
Photo Credit: Steven Depolo