Zombie Recycling Myths That Just Won’t Die

Author
Take Care of Texas
Zombie hands coming out of the ground

Why won’t these zombies DIE?! 

No, it’s not the evil curse type of zombies. It’s not a canister of spilled, experimental military bioweapons gas kind of zombie. It’s not an evil corporation creating and unleashing a virus on Racoon City style of zombie either.  

This is a different zombie altogether. These recycling myths keep stumbling around the internet, wandering aimlessly in our collective braaaaaains, following us relentlessly. They simply refuse to die. Until now, that is. Arm yourself with knowledge. Take aim at these myths. And blast these zombie recycling myths back into the grave where they belong.  Zombie saying "Crush cans. Crumple plastic bottles."

Zombie Myth #1: You must crumple plastic bottles and crush cans before recycling. 

FALSE! – If you have a single stream recycling bin (where all your materials are put into one bin), keep your cans intact. While an uncrushed can may take up more space in your bin, it’s easier for recycling centers’ machinery to determine that they are actually aluminum cans when sorting materials if you don’t crush them.  

Zombie Myth #2: Containers must be squeaky clean in order to be recycled.  

FALSE! – While cans, bottles and containers should be relatively clean, dry, and free of most food waste, they don’t need to be spotless when you put them in your recycling bin. The goal is for them to be clean enough to avoid contaminating other materials or attracting unwanted pests and smells. Scrape and rinse cans and jars. Try pouring a little water into your container and shaking it around to remove most residue. 

Zombie Myth #3: It doesn’t matter if something doesn’t belong in the recycling cart, the hauler will sort everything anyway.  

FALSE! – Mixing trash and recycling mucks up the entire process. Contamination slows or sometimes stops the recycling process at the sorting facility. It can even contaminate raw recyclable materials, making them more expensive or unusable all together. Often, those otherwise recyclable materials must be put into the landfill instead of being used again. 

Zombie hand hold sign saying "All Glass is Recyclable"Zombie Myth #4: All glass is recyclable. 

FALSE! – Not all glass is created the same. Light bulbs are different than soda bottles. Glass cookware is different than a wine bottle. They have different colors, different chemical properties and melt at different temperatures. They also have different values as recycled materials. Check with your local recycler to be sure, but typically only bottles and jars should be placed in your curbside bin. 

Zombie Myth #5: You must remove plastic bottle caps before you can recycle bottles. 

Zombie saying "Remove Plastic Bottle Caps!"FALSE! – According to the Association of Plastic Recyclers, in the past, the plastics recycling industry couldn’t effectively recycle bottles with caps on them. Hence, recyclers told everyone to remove the caps before recycling. Since then, the collection and processing technology has improved. We can now leave the caps on plastic bottles, and we’re encouraged to do so! 

The best thing you can do to combat zombie recycling myths is to contact your local recycling authority. They will tell you exactly what’s fact and what’s fiction in their facility. If you need help finding your local recycling program, this list of Texas Residential Recycling Programs should help you. You can find out even  more about what should and shouldn’t go into your recycling bin by reading some of the other stories on our blog, such as “Pizza Boxes and Other Recycling Mysteries” or by ordering our free publications

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