The issue of recycling contamination has been around for years now, and we can all help take care of this ongoing situation. However, first we need to really understand what exactly recycling contamination is and why it is important. Only then we will be able to take an active role in preventing this situation, which will benefit not only the recycling industry but the environment in general. As a result, we will make sure we are doing our part when it comes to recycling waste effectively.
When we talk about recycling contamination, we are talking about the many different materials and items intended to be recycled, but that are incorrectly prepared or separated. Some examples of this type of contamination include food residue inside containers, recyclables inside plastic bags, combined materials for recycling, incorrect disposal, etcetera. This could result in recyclable material ending up in landfills instead of recycling plants.
As we mentioned earlier, there are many different types of contaminants that can turn recyclable material into plain trash. The worst contaminators are plastic bags, unsurprisingly, and the many items made from them, including bubble wrap, Ziploc bags, trash bags, etcetera. Another common example of recycling contaminant is food waste. Whenever a recyclable item carries food waste, it automatically becomes trash, as the material cannot be recycled anymore.
Loose shredded paper, brightly colored paper, beverage cartons, hazardous waste, bio-hazardous waste, frozen food containers, and unrinsed or metal-capped glass are also examples of recycling contaminants we need to keep from disposing and bringing to recycling plants. Learning about the proper disposal of these different materials is therefore essential if we want to make sure our waste can be properly treated.
It is essential that we become aware of just how important it is to properly sort and dispose of our recyclable material beforehand. This is because recycling contamination can have a negative and lasting effect on the environment, recycling plants, and their equipment and employees. To begin with, contaminated items and materials become impossible to recycle and end up being sent to landfills. The machinery recycling plants use may be affected too, causing them to break down and require otherwise unnecessary maintenance. Lastly, those who work at recycling plants can become exposed to hazardous waste and physically damaging materials, so we need to make sure we are properly sorting and getting rid of our recyclables.
Therefore, if you want to take an active role to create and promote a culture of recycling, remember to pay attention to what you are disposing of and the state such waste is at. You will end up ensuring that we extend the life cycle of all the items and materials we use and dispose of.