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12 recycling “mistakes” you shouldn’t toss into your cart or bin

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Lucas Dean, supervisor of the big SOCRRA recycling center in Troy, sits with his desk full of trash — all items that shouldn’t go into recycling carts or bins (Photo: Bill Laitner)

They’re 12 things that Earth-friendly Americans want to recycle — and who can blame them? 

But when bad stuff goes into a recycling cart or bin, it contaminates the good stuff. So buyers refuse shipments or they pay a lot less. Either way, that drives up recycling costs for, well, Earth-friendly Americans, Lucas Dean says.

More: I had to sort through your recycling mistakes: Live ammo, dog poop, dead rats

More: You may be recycling the wrong way and it’s costing everybody

To make the point, Dean loaded his desk with a dirty dozen of recycling mistakes. He’s supervisor of the SOCRRA recycling plant in Troy, one of Michigan’s largest, serving 13 cities in Oakland County. Check your town’s website for your recycling rules. But, odds are, these 12 things should go to a drop-off center or into your trash can:

  • Plastic bags
  • Coat hangers
  • Junk metal (auto parts, pots and pans, all metal but food and beverage cans)
  • Paper towels and tissues
  • Wire and electric cords
  • Garden hoses and other hoses 
  • Batteries
  • Large plastic junk (toys, garden tools)
  • Styrofoam packaging, foam “peanuts”
  • Old cassette and VHS tapes
  • Pizza boxes (unless free of food and grease)
  • Flimsy No. 1 food containers (if it says No. 1 but isn’t a water bottle, it’s trash). 

 Added note: Don’t bag your recycling. That makes trouble for workers. Keep most stuff loose in your cart or bin. 

Contact Bill Laitner: blaitner@freepress.com

Read or Share this story: https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/oakland/2019/09/24/12-recycling-mistakes-oakland-county-socrra-carts-bins-plastic/2379174001/



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