What should we do with greasy pizza boxes?
What about whipped cream containers?
Jars with peanut butter stuck to them?
As West Hartford launches a new campaign to increase residential recycling, one of the most important components is education. The list of materials that are acceptable in the town’s single stream recycling process has grown significantly since West Hartford contracted with ReCommunity Recycling in Nov. 2012. However, there will always be questions.
We will publish “Recycle This, Trash That” on a regular basis as part of the campaign to increase recycling. Surprises are guaranteed!
One reader suggested a “Trash Court” where residents can submit their questionable items for judgment, and that’s essentially what we plan to do. If you have a question, add it as a comment to this article or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll reply right away and include the questionable item in a future installment.
The following items are some of the items that have already been mentioned in reader comments on articles or Facebook:
Colored plastic: It doesn’t matter what color it is. If a plastic container has a recycling symbol #1-#7 on it, RECYCLE.
5-gallon bucket: Rigid plastics such as buckets, laundry baskets, and children’s toys are now part of the single stream process, so RECYCLE. The handle should be removed if it’s metal.
Greasy pizza box: Although the box is made of cardboard, which definitely is recyclable, the grease is not welcome in the recycling process. Throw it in the TRASH. However, if any portion is not greasy, it can be recycled.
Whipped cream or shaving cream canister: You can RECYCLE all aerosol cans, as long as they do not contain hazardous materials. Whipped cream, shaving cream, hair spray, and sunscreen containers are among the items that are recyclable. (Just make sure the cannisters are empty before throwing them into the barrel.) A canister of WD40, for example, cannot be recycled because even if it’s empty it contains oil residue.
Peanut butter jar: The plastic containers are RECYCLABLE, however, it’s really hard to clean out the peanut butter residue. One helpful hint is to allow the jar to sit for an hour or so with some warm soapy water in it. Then put the top back on and shake it up before rinsing. That should remove most of the peanut butter. The top of the jar can go in the recycling bin, too.
Hershey’s Kiss wrappers: Did you get some kisses for Valentine’s Day? If you have any left, it’s important to know that you can RECYCLE the foil wrappers. Because the wrappers are so small and could easily blow away when they get dumped into the truck, West Hartford’s Environmental Services Manager David Gabriele suggests placing all of your kiss wrappers inside other foil you are recycling. All foil is recyclable, as long as it’s clean.
Keep your questions coming!
Ronni Newton is a freelance writer who is contracted as the recycling promoter for the Town of West Hartford. She will be providing a regular series of articles about what can and can’t be recycled, and updates about the progress of the town’s recycling initiative.