Don’t be fooled by these 5 recycling myths

March 19th 2014
Confused by recycling rules? Don't despair: Recycling help is here!

We're proud to offer recycling at every single BRE community. That's right: each and every one!

At most communities, we have designated recycling bins. At others, our vendor diverts recycling at their facilities. Either way, our residents can be confident that we're minimizing landfill waste.

Myths prevent many people from recycling. Here are 5 recycling myths to ban from your brain:

Myth: All plastics are recyclable.

Fact: Not all plastics are the same, and some cannot be recycled at all facilities.

Plastics are created differently, which means they need to be recycled differently. Containers are engraved with numbers (1 – 7), and not all recyclers can process all plastic numbers. Check with your leasing office to learn which numbers are permitted at your community.

Myth: Recyclable containers always need to be rinsed, washed and have their labels removed.

Fact: Rinsing is not always required, and you don't have to remove labels.

Labels can remain on the containers because they will be burned off during the re-manufacturing process.

When it comes to rinsing, consider two factors: How liquid is the item? Will it smell if it's left in the container and not in the refrigerator?

Containers for liquids like soda and shampoo just need to be fully emptied. Containers from stickier foods, like mayonnaise and peanut butter, should be wiped clean to remove as much food residue as possible. Milk and juice containers should be lightly rinsed to prevent odors.

Be sure to save water when rinsing your bottles, cans and jars. Pour only a small amount of cold water into the container, put the lid back on, shake the container and pour out the water. This will loosen up food inside the container while minimizing water use.

Myth: Pizza delivery boxes cannot be recycled.

Fact: Pizza boxes not heavily soaked in grease/food remnants can be recycled.

Soiled pizza boxes cannot be recycled, although they can be composted. If the bottom of the pizza delivery box is contaminated, you can still rip off the top of the box and recycle it.

Myth: It takes more energy to recycle old items than to make new items.

Fact: Recycling saves energy!

A recent study found that the total energy used to collect, haul, process and re-manufacture a ton of recyclables is less than 50% of the energy needed to create products from new materials.

The energy saved from recycling one ton of paper saves enough energy to power an average household for up to six months, saves 7,000 gallons of water, and keeps 600 pounds of pollutants out of the air.

Myth: Recycling is the only way to make less trash.

Fact: Recycling is a great way, but not the only way, to reduce waste.

Check out these ways to to reduce waste and save you money:

  • Select products with low or no packaging. The U.S. EPA estimates that $1 out of every $10 dollars spent on products goes toward the costs of packaging. Purchasing products with less packaging is good for the environment and your wallet.
  • Purchase reusable, durable goods. For example, instead of using disposable tableware, plates, napkins and cups, purchase reusable items.
  • Donate unwanted clothing, furniture and household items to local charities instead of throwing them away. One person's trash is another person's treasure.

Check out more recycling myths here.