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5 Ways to Reduce Waste

  1. Take your own bag or box to the supermarket or re-use plastic shopping bags.
  2. Use Rechargeable batteries.
  3. Use Tupperware® or other re-usable containers instead of disposables.
  4. Buy products made from recycled materials.
  5. Recycle as much as possible.

SERVICES

FAQ


What is single stream recycling?

What happens to my recycled material?

What is done with material that´s placed in carts but is not recyclable?

What is not recyclable?

Is recycling the same everywhere?

Does recycling really help the environment?

Can I put batteries and other electronics in my recycling cart?


What is single stream recycling?
In the past most municipal curbside recycling programs were "source–separated" in nature meaning that residents placed paper in one bin and glass and metal in a separate bin for curbside pick–up. Many of these programs have been converted to "single–stream" and allow residents to put all recyclables into one cart for collection. These new wheeled carts made from recycled plastic and featuring attached lids are emptied in fully or semi–automated fashion by specially designed collection trucks. The benefits of single–stream include: easier participation because all recyclables are placed into one cart; cleaner and neater streets due to the lids; and, safer collection operations because drivers exit the trucks less often.

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What happens to my recycled material?
Collected recyclables are processed and made into new items. Recycled glass is made into new glass containers; aluminum cans into new cans and other products; and newspaper into newspaper and other paper products such as packaging. Recycled PET plastic is used to make carpet, t-shirts and other clothing, while other plastics may be re-molded into products that are very similar to their original forms.

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What is done with material that´s placed in carts but is not recyclable?
Although these materials go through the processing system they still end up in large bales that must be hauled to the landfill. Materials that are not recyclable generally fall into two categories.

  • Rejects – materials that should not be in the recycling stream such as garbage; diapers; food and plant waste; medical waste: paint; and, chemicals.
  • Residue – typically recyclable materials that are unacceptable because they are contaminated by unacceptable materials. Examples include cardboard pizza boxes and soiled newspapers.

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What is not recyclable?
Various city curbside recycling programs differ as to items that are not acceptable. It is best to check your city´s program for an exact list.

Oakland: http://www.zerowasteoakland.com/Page303.aspx
San Jose: http://www.sjrecycles.org/residents/rec_garb.asp

Items that are generally not recyclable in your household cart include:

  • Diapers
  • Medical waste
  • Household Hazardous Waste (like batteries, oil, paint and antifreeze)
  • Food waste
  • Yard trimmings
  • Tires
  • Furniture
  • Liquids
  • Appliances
  • Strings of holiday lights, plastic wrapping paper, bows and ribbons
  • Certain plastics – check the codes to be sure
  • Wood and construction debris
  • Pet food bags

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Is recycling the same everywhere?
There may be differences between each city´s recycling program. Although the accepted materials are generally the same: paper, metal, plastic and glass, it is best to check with your city´s program for the nature of and details about specific materials that are accepted and their collection requirements.

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Does recycling really help the environment?
Yes. Recycling saves space in the landfill. It also saves energy and reduces the production of greenhouse gases. The process and costs - in dollars and environmental impact—for returning a recycled material to the marketplace as a new product can be significantly less than manufacturing that product from a raw material.

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Can I put batteries and other electronics in my recycling cart?
NO! Discarded electronic products can present environmental hazards if not properly managed. Search this directory http://www.ciwmb.ca.gov/Electronics/Collection/RecyclerSearch.aspx, by county and/or product type to find an organization near you that may handle anything from televisions and monitors to cell phones and CPUs.

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