Even though recycling has been around for a while, it can still be confusing! Specific rules around what can be recycled can also change from region to region, so it’s important to check with your local facilities to get their exact requirements about what materials they are able to accept.
We’re big fans of recycling here at Kinfield, which is why we wanted to dig into some of the common myths and mistakes around recycling. Have you committed any of these recycling mistakes? Read on to see—and be sure to check out our new Recycling Guide to see how to properly care for your Kinfield products when they’ve finished taking care of you.
Just because it’s paper, doesn’t mean it’s recyclable! Make sure to take a closer look—soiled cardboard, used paper towels, or your frozen pizza box from last night are a recycling no-go. Even though frozen food boxes are made from paper, they are then coated with a plastic resin to protect the food from freezer burn. Unfortunately, that resin means they are unable to be recycled.
Any untreated papers are safe to recycle, though! Plus, recycling paper is great for the environment—it uses 70% less energy than making it from raw materials.
Manufacturing with recycled materials has improved by leaps and bounds in recent years. Years ago, recycled products were thinner, but today’s technology has significantly improved the strength and quality of recycled materials to the point where they are often indistinguishable from products made from “virgin” materials.
Recycled materials can still be out of reach for many small businesses due to high demand by other brands and large minimum order sizes from manufacturers, but growing consumer demand helps to bring costs down and make these materials more accessible for all. That’s what we call a win/win!
Hate to break it to ya, but that’s something called “wishcycling,” and it does more harm than good. Instead, remember: “When in doubt, throw it out.” Wishful recycling contaminates your recyclables with non-recyclable materials, which can delay the sorting process or even cause the entire batch of recyclables to be rejected.
Instead, make sure to check with your local facility to see what they are able to accept, and be sure to sort your recyclables where required.
Metals and glass can be recycled indefinitely, without degrading the material’s quality—incredible! Aluminum and clear glass are prized in the recycling world because of how relatively easy it is to re-use them. Advances have also been made in the world of ocean plastics and biomaterials to find new ways to repeatedly re-use plastics as well.
Even paper is included—common printer paper can be recycled up to five to seven times¹!
Surprise! Compostable items are actually considered contaminants in recycling and trash facilities. It all has to do with oxygen—landfills are compressed to the point where oxygen isn’t able to reach the lower layers. Compostable items require oxygen to decompose, which means they aren’t able to break down naturally in that environment.
If you have a compostable item, make sure it makes it to a composting facility! It’s possible to set up your own backyard compost, and many urban areas have commercial composting facilities as well. Cities like San Francisco and Austin even have city-wide composting bins—while others, like New York, have compost drop-off points throughout the city.
As we all continue to learn new ways to protect our planet, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle is the best solution for landfills. While you’re making a difference, check out our Recycling page for more information on how to care for your Kinfield products and for a list of other brand recycling programs.
Happy Recycling, and thank you for doing your part!
1 Richardson Russel Paper Recycling FAQs | What Paper Can & Can't Be Recycled