So you feel earth-friendly when you toss something in the recycling bin, right? Bummer alert: un-recyclable items are in your bin.
Here are some common items that can't be recycled:
Pizza boxes. The oil from pizza can contaminate cardboard boxes, making it impossible to process them into clean paper.
Napkins and paper towels. It's not the paper goods themselves that present a problem, but the fact that they're typically used to wipe up food, cleaning products, and other "hazardous waste." Another reason: paper can only be recycled so many times and by the time it's towel/tissue the fibers are too short to be recycled again.
Sticky notes. Their size, color, and the adhesive strip make them a better bet for the trash bin. (Although there are pressure-sensitive adhesives aka "self-adhesives" that are recycling-compatible.)
Plastic caps. Curbside programs won't recycle them, but Aveda collects them and turns them into packaging for new products.
Wet paper. Paper fibers that have been exposed to water are shorter and more brittle. As a result, the paper is generally unsuitable for making into new paper.
Check in with your local waste or sanitation department to find out what the specific rules are in your area.
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