5 Items Recycling Centers Throw Away

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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