We all know recycling is a generally good practice, but it’s one of those things where it’s not really not just the thought that counts. If you recycle incorrectly, the goods you’re trying to preserve for reuse can be rendered useless. In the winter time, in particular, there are some seasonally specific recycling dos and don’ts that you may not be aware of.
Rinse your bins and containers
Throughout the winter, give your containers and bins a good rinse, then turn them upside down and let them dry fully before you put any recyclables in them. According to AccuWeather, this will prevent ice build-up, which in turn can cause recyclables to become stuck together.
Put your recyclables in the right order
Don’t just toss all your paper or plastic goods into their bins and call it a day—at least not when the weather is frightful. Wind can come along and snatch lighter, looser materials off the top of the pile, which would lead to inadvertent littering—the exact opposite of what you’re trying to accomplish by recycling.
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Instead, before you bring the bin out, take time to put heavy items on top. And don’t bring it out and leave it overnight, either, Certified Recycling advises. Try to take recycling out the morning of your pick-up so it’s not sitting out in the elements all night.
Place your bags and bins in a safe spot
AccuWeather also says you have to be choosier with where you set your bins in the winter. Snow removal areas are dangerous, of course, but even setting your bags or tied-up cardboard on icy spots is a bad idea, as they can actually become frozen in place.
Take care with holiday decor and waste
When you’re cleaning up after the holidays, don’t just stick your tree on the curb and drop your old lights in the bin. Check with your local waste department about their policies for discarding these items. Your local department may mulch trees and wreaths, for instance, and old lights can be recycled by scrap metal companies, so give them a call, too.
Finally, according to Earth Day 365, don’t try to recycle any kind of packing materials or wrapping paper: This means no stick-on bows, no styrofoam, and no bubblewrap. You can, of course, recycle cardboard boxes.