Questions & Answers about Recycling

Q. Can I leave the lid on a plastic bottle and put it in the recycling?

A. Yes. When the bottles are washed, the caps float off.

Q. Is it OK to leave my recycling in a plastic bag?

A. No. The plastic bags contaminate the plastic recycling stream. Those bags can be recycled by returning them to the grocery store. Large stores usually have their own plastic bag recycling drops.

Q. Can I recycle a can with a cigarette butt or a beer bottle with a lime in the bottom?

A. Yes. Those materials are removed when the materials are washed.

Q. Can I recycle every type of paper?

A. Yes. If you can tear it, they can recycle it

Q. If a glass container breaks, can it still be recycled?

A. Yes. In fact, most of the unbroken bottles break during the recycling process.

Q. Where does the recycling end up?

A. Waste Management uses sorting machines and a crew to separate the materials. Paper and cardboard are compressed into bales and shipped to paper mills. Aluminum and steel cans are also put in bales. Glass is sent to a separate facility where it is processed and sold back to glass manufacturers. Plastic is ground up and sent to processors that will make it into pellets that could end up as CD cases, hangers, bottles or carpets.

Q. Does every piece of plastic I put in my recycling bin really get recycled?

A. No. Waste Management, and many municipalities, accepts plastics numbered one through seven. Although these plastics are technically recyclable.

For example, Waste Management does not currently have buyers for plastics numbered three (PVC pipes), six (egg cartons) or seven (some electronic casings). Plastics with no buyers are separated and taken to a landfill.