So I previously did a Trash Post about where your trash goes and why you should recycle. But that got me thinking, what about recycling? I’m always begging people to recycle and I don’t even know what that really means – besides putting a beer can into a separate bin.
So I talked to Troy Vaughn at the Waste Management recycling center in Davidson County. I told him I had a bunch of weird questions, and asked first if there was anything he wanted to start off with. He immediately just said “BAGS.” Apparently if you put all your recyclables into a bag before you put them into your toter, they will end up in the landfill. That’s right, even when you try, you can’t recycle. He said sometimes those bags are 50% of the waste that day. They don’t have the time or manpower to open the bags and the bags can’t go through the sorting machine. So if you take anything away from this post it’s NO BAGS IN THE RECYCLE TOTER. 🙂
Of course, every county is different and he highly recommended talking to your local government/sanitation department to make sure you’re following all the rules. For instance, glass is a very difficult thing to recycle, so a lot of curbside pickups don’t take glass. Although, there is always a place to separately recycle glass, so look out for that.
Troy said the most valuable item is definitely cardboard. That surprised me a lot. Cardboard is very low on my list of items I want to make sure to recycle. It’s the least harmful and the most annoying to fit in the toter. I mean, I still do it – just surprised me that I was making a difference at all with just cardboard. Paper is also very valuable. Make sure it’s shredded so none of your personal information is compromised, though. There is no need to punch out the plastic screens in envelopes either. Woo!
It was so nice talking to someone just as crazy about recycling. It’s comforting to know that someone passionate about the health of the environment is at the helm of my county’s recycling program. I tried to keep this post short and I don’t have any pictures, so I am very thankful if you’re sitting here reading this whole entry. Let me know if this was helpful at all or if you have any other questions!