We often get phone calls and emails from concerned residents and facility operators: Can I recycle this? How do I educate the residents about that? Well, Scrappigail Van Buren has some of the answers in her latest column, Dear Scrappy!

Dear Scrappy:

There is a fight going on in my family: Should we leave container caps on or off?

Signed,   Cap in Chichester

Dear Cap-

  • Plastic caps are recyclable
  • NRRA encourages residents to empty their containers
  • Rinse them with water
  • Recycle the containers with the plastic caps removed in the same bin at your recycling center
  • Contact your local hauler and processor to verify that their specs allow for cap removal because markets can vary

The reasons we recommend that caps are removed from containers:

  • If some liquid remains in the bottle, it can cause pressure in the containers when they are baled
  • It can also create a mess when the liquid drains from the container when baled
  • Questionable liquids can cause the staff to toss a container into the waste instead of being recycled

Some specs allow caps to be left on containers. But NRRA’s recommendation is to remove caps and educate residents with signage for cleaner recycling.

Dear Scrappy,

We see a lot of wrapping paper in our Mixed Paper bin at the recycling center. Is any of it actually recyclable?

Signed, Foiled in Fitzwilliam

Dear Foiled-

  • Non-foil wrapping paper is recyclable.
  • Anything with foil, glitter or ribbons is not recyclable.

NRRA cautions that most used wrapping paper is contaminated with foil, ribbons and the paper is made from such low quality and high levels of ink. The paper is so light that it doesn’t affect the weight of a bale in the market. Unless you are very strict, it is best to put used wrapping paper in the waste instead of recycling it. Some mills will not accept bales when they see with wrapping paper in it.

If you wish to cut down on waste, buy or make cloth bags or buy reusable paper gift bags

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