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Rules of Recycling

Recycling Pizza BoxesRecycling Pizza BoxesIn today’s world of environmentally conscious and enlightened societies, most people regularly recycle. In fact it’s quite rare to find people, at least in the western and first world who don’t or won’t recycle. But without the correct research a great many people could be making errors when it comes to what can and what can’t be put into those magical little boxes.

Whilst it’s all very well and good to suggest that, “it’s the thought that counts,” if you’re adding things to your recycling bins which don’t belong there you could, not only make life more difficult for your local refuse collectors but also ruin part of the recycling process itself.

For example, quite a common occurrence is pizza boxes being thrown in with the recycling. This is a fairly innocent idea and one which, without the right research could seem a perfectly normal thing to do. But due to the nature of paper’s specific recycling process putting used pizza boxes in can make the entire process pointless. This is because one of the worst possible contaminants in the paper recycling process is food.

Residual greases and oils are less of an issue for plastic, metal and glass, due to the heating technique which is part of their recycling process. Paper and cardboard products on the other hand are mixed with water and turned into slurry when recycled. Once oil or grease is introduced into this process it contaminates the water based slurry and floats to the top as it separates.

The best way around issues like this is simply to cut out greasy or contaminated areas before you put your discarded cardboard into the recycling. Otherwise there will be one of two outcomes, neither of which is ideal, and one of which is practically disastrous.

In one case the people charged with sorting through recycling will have pull out each of the soiled and contaminated pieces by hand, creating more work for an already busy taskforce.

In the worst case scenario the greasy paper or cardboard will not be spotted soon enough, which will result in it being recycled along with a large bulk of that days rubbish. This will undoubtedly contaminate the entire batch, thus making it useless and practically making more rubbish than what you previously used.

The costs of contaminated recycling have been estimated at around seven hundred million dollars per year, due to disposal costs for the (now) non-recyclable waste produce, repairing damaged machinery, and the cost of wasted man power.

Despite these costs and issues it seems that governments are failing to notify their public on the dangers and wastefulness of poor and uneducated recycling, something which renders the entire process pointless and at odds with its own morals and ethics.

This eco friendly recycling based article was written by blogger John Pauline, who writes on behalf of eco friendly companies Solar Choice and Solvis energy solutions, who are a great source for  LED lighting solutions.