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Dear Recycle Lady

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Dear Recycle Lady,

Are all items recyclable if there is a recycle symbol on it? Hopeful

Dear Hopeful,

One of the biggest misconceptions in recycling is that an item is recyclable if it has a recycle symbol on it is. There are several reasons for this, but the biggest reason is that which items accepted for recycling varies not only from state to state, but from city to city. For example, the Greenbrier Recycling Center doesn’t accept #1 plastic boxes and clam shells, whereas larger cities in the state have the capacity to do so. Recyclers should check before putting an item in a bin that is questionable. The Greenbrier County Solid Waste Authority’s website, www.GCSWA.com, has specific lists of what is acceptable at the Recycling Center. If in doubt, throw it out. Putting items in a recycle bin that are not recyclable are contaminants and can spoil an entire bale of good recyclables.

Dear Recycle Lady,

Yesterday we were at a restaurant to get takeout food and drinks and our drinks were put in a pressed cardboard carrier. Can this type of cardboard be put in with the corrugated cardboard? Not a Cook

Dear Not a Cook,

Yes, pressed cardboard drink holders can be put in with regular cardboard. Egg cartons (not plastic ones), card stock and paper towels tubes are a similar type of cardboard. There are many items made from recycled cardboard, including new cardboard, chipboard, and cereal boxes.

Dear Recycle Lady,

Why should we be recycling cardboard? It is made from wood and trees are a sustainable resource. Don’t Understand

Dear Don’t Understand,

According to https://citizensustainable. com/recycling-cardboard, there are 6 very good reasons for recycling cardboard. First of all, when cardboard is recycled, long, strong paper fibers are produced that can be used many times, reducing the need to cut down trees to make cardboard. Second, recycling saves energy. Making cardboard from raw materials is a more complicated and longer process than using recycled cardboard. Third, using wood to make cardboard creates a gas that causes acid rain, called sulfur dioxide. Using recycled cardboard cuts the amount sulfur dioxide created in half. Fourth, it reduces landfill waste. Fifth, when cardboard breaks down in a landfill a greenhouse gas, called methane, is released. Methane contributes to global warming by absorbing the sun’s heat and warming the atmosphere. Sixth, recycling saves water. Processing new wood to make cardboard takes lots of water. Using recycled cardboard skips this step entirely. Approximately, 7,000 tons of water are saved for every ton of recycled cardboard used. One word of caution – Cardboard is easily contaminated by oils, food, lots of tape, Styrofoam, plastic packaging and peanuts. Be sure to cut off all soiled parts or put it all in the trash.

Have questions about recycling, or interesting information about recycling? Send questions or requests to recyclelady@greenbrier-swa.com . Dear Recycle Lady is sponsored jointly by the Greenbrier Recycling Center and Greenworks Recycling.

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