What you need to know:
- China only accepts items with less than 1% contamination
(The National Average is 25% contamination)
- The recycling stream is SERIOUSLY overloaded
What's the Difference?
Downcycling: Taking an item and making new materials
Recycling: Taking an item and making a new item
Upcycling: Taking materials and making a new item
What's Considered Contamination?
- Plastic Utensils
- Plastic items only used once
- NOT recyclable
- Napkins with grease
- Cardboard pizza boxes because of cheese
- Used paper plates
*Do not try to recycle any items considered to be contamination-they interfere and can cause equal the trashing of recyclables
What's the Problem with Plastic Anyway?
Recycling Rate-Less than 9% of all plastic used is recycled so it ends up in landfills/streets/waterways
Off gases-When heated it releases chemicals into food or air
Microplastics in our water-Breaks down into microscopic particles that end up in our water and bodies
Ocean Contamination-Marine life consumes microplastics that are deadly to their health
Effect on our Health-This chemical based product has been proven to cause numerous kinds of cancers
However, it's Better to Recycle our plastic than to do nothing at all, so...
What's Recyclable in (Naperville) Curbside Recycling?
#1 - PETE or PET
Examples: Food Containers or Plastic bottles
#2 - PE
Examples: Liquid (milk or detergent) Containers, sometimes Plastic Bags
#3 - PVC
Examples: Food Wrapping, etc. (common items not included because not accepted for curbside)
#4 - LDPE
Examples: Plastic or Bread Bags
#5 - PP
Examples: Condiment Bottles, Yogurt or Plastic Cups
#7 - PLA
Examples: Wide variety of "bioplastics"
(#6- PS -often includes Styrofoam or plastic in snack packages such as Oreo or Chips Ahoy that give the package its shape- are NOT recyclable in curbside)
Plastic #7 is NOT recyclable in most areas. Check Earth911.com for information on what's recyclable in your area.
What is Terracycle?
Considered the "great mediator" meaning they recycle household items not recyclable in blue, curbside bins
Commitment to recycling everything sent in through specialized Terracycle boxes
Offer free recycling programs for personal or business use - Partners with many name brands to offer these - Point system as a reward for recycling through these
Not always cost effective...
Find more at Terracycle.com
Where can I recycle items not recyclable in Curbside?
How Can I Reduce my Use of Plastic?
Form a habit of automatically asking restaurants to "hold the straw" with your drink
Use what you have to make your own alternatives (for anything)--Seriously, get creative with this
Bring your own silverware to avoid single use plastic silverware, and clean with a napkin or at home
Bring your own containers (reused takeout containers are great) in a bag to store leftovers
Take your own canvas bags into the grocery store, and they might even give you a discount
Bring a reusable cup for hot and/or iced drinks and they might give you a discount for this as well
Keep these items stowed in a travel bag in a convenient and accessible location for when you're out
*Note: Check with stores and organizations to see if they are still collecting amidst the current pandemic.
Learn about FOOD SOVERIGNTY: http://usfoodsovereigntyalliance.org/what-is-food-sovereignty/