Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle While You Spring Clean
It’s time for some Spring cleaning! But before you start throwing everything into trash bags, it’s important to remember that everything we own requires natural resources to produce, and many of the things we might consider trash can be reused, repaired and recycled. While it can be tempting just to get items into trash bags as quick as possible, reducing the amount of waste you create while spring cleaning can be very rewarding.
Are You Recycling Right?
Throwing as much as you possibly can into your home recycling bin because it contains any plastic, metal, glass or paper might make you feel good in the moment, but did you know this does not benefit your local recycling program? Contrary to popular belief, your recycling mistakes won’t always be figured out for you later, and when good recyclables are mixed with contamination, it makes it harder to turn them into new products. Your recycling mistakes can even create dangerous working situations at recycling facilities that pose serious consequences to real people with families who work in recycling facilities, sorting these materials and running equipment.
Tips to Recycle Right While You Spring Clean
- You don’t have to be an expert to recycle right. Before you start, contact us, your hauler, or transfer station with questions you have about certain items. They can also provide you with a list of what is accepted and not accepted in your home recycling bin. No more guessing!
- Respect your sanitation workers and waste collectors: One of the best ways to say thank you is to follow the recycling rules in your area.
- Some items are recyclable but require special drop-off programs with different systems to recycle them and will not be recycled if placed in your home recycling bin. Some of these items include electronics, rechargeable batteries, textiles, and film plastics like plastic bags. To find out how to dispose of these items check out the home page.
- Don’t bag recyclables unless in the rare case your instructions tell you to do so. Most of us should be putting recyclables into containers loose. In fact, improperly bagged recyclables can end up in the landfill because it’s considered a hazard since workers can’t see what’s inside the bag.
- Cardboard paper towel tubes are recyclable, but soiled paper towels, wipes, and napkins belong in the trash.
- If you have bulky household items they should not go in your home recycling bin. If you have curbside recycling do not leave these items at the curb unless you have a special bulk items pickup and NEVER illegally dump these items somewhere. Your hauler or municipality can help you dispose of these items properly.
- No cords, wires, light strands, rope or other tanglers that jam recycling equipment.
Reuse and Repair
As you’re cleaning and organizing, if you come across something broken or worn consider reusing or repairing it instead of trashing it. Reuse and repair help reduce waste, conserve natural resources, and fight climate change. Who knew you could do all of that with a simple fix? Don’t consider yourself handy? There are plenty of resources available to learn and many repairs are easier than you might think. If you need help, set the item aside to visit a repair shop they re-open after the COVID-19 response.
How to Help During COVID-19
Less is more - Please be aware - that with more people at home during the #Covid19 response, more residential waste is being generated, putting strain on some waste and recycling collection programs. Litter of disposable masks and gloves is also becoming a problem. Here’s how you can help:
- Clean in stages. You are encouraged to hold off on any large spring cleaning projects or focus on home organizing and doing smaller cleanouts in stages.
- Masks and gloves belong in the trash, not the recycling bin. Wear a mask and gloves while you were running a couple of errands? Please don’t litter these items. You can also help keep sanitation workers and waste collectors safe by making sure these items go in the trash and not your recycling bin. Carry a small baggy or container with you when running essential errands that you can put used gloves or masks into if there is no trash can around, and dispose of the used items properly later.
- Thank your essential sanitation workers who are your trash, recycling, and compost haulers, transfer station operators, recycling coordinators, and other sanitation workers when you can by waving, leaving a note at the curb, calling or sending an email.
- Receiving more packages to the door? Make sure to collapse your cardboard boxes to save space at home and in collection vehicles.
- Set it aside. New York residents are being encouraged to reduce non-essential trips out. Some retail stores, drop-off locations, or donation centers may also not be open or accepting items right now. To find out when the next upcoming special collection event is visit the events page: Upcoming Ontario County Special Collection Events