Are you  recycling “smart” and avoiding the most common recycling mistakes?  Not sure?  Want to learn more?  Then read on…

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Learning to Recycle correctly  is important  for several reasons.

  •  Adding items to recycle bins that you “hope” or “wish” were recyclable, even though they are not, adds expense to the process as the recycling facility must separate these items out and divert them to the trash.  Examples include light bulbs, mirrors, plastic flower pots/toys, patio furniture, coat hangers, tools and other metal objects.
  • You help the town of Needham save money
  • You help improve local, and ultimately global, recycling practices.
  • It’s the right thing to do and it’s easy!

So, get all your recycling questions answered on the state’s Recycle Smart website!  It has a lot of great information about recycling in Massachusetts, such as:

  • A “Recyclopedia” search feature that allows you find out whether  a specific item can  be recycled, and if so, how  and where.
  • A “Smart” Recycling Guide”- a one-page downloadable/printable chart that visually describes what to recycle and what not to recycle.
  • An informative FAQ page that answers many questions about recycling in Massachusetts.  Check out the last question “Can I recycle this?” for detailed explanations about whether or not many commonly discarded items are recyclable in the RTS recycling bins – e.g., styrofoam, pizza boxes, shredded paper, textiles, etc.
  • Information about why  a specific item is not  recyclable in the recycling bins at the RTS;  e.g., “frozen food boxes” –  these may seem to be the same as cereal  boxes, which are recyclable with mixed paper, but the frozen food boxes have a thin layer of plastic embedded in the cardboard box to prevent freezer burn, which makes them different and not recyclable with mixed paper.
  • Videos with helpful tips about recycling.
  • Current (or prior) monthly newsletter (and a link to sign up to receive the newsletter via email).
  • Think you know a lot about recycling?  Take the quiz and find out!

Here are some common recycling mistakes  that we make – make sure that you’re not making these:

The goal is to keep food and liquids from contaminating the paper and cardboard in the recycling system, avoid attracting unwanted pests, and keep recycling workers from having to sort through sticky, moldy recyclables!

  • Adding black plastic take-out containers with recycling symbols to the mixed plastic/metal/glass recycle bin. (NO – here’s why)
  • Adding plastic grocery bags (or any plastic bag, plastic film or plastic wrap) to the mixed plastic/metal/glass recycle bin.  (NO – here’s why)
  • Adding milk/juice cartons items to the mixed plastic/metal/glass recycle or Mixed paper bins. (NO – here’s why)
  • Adding glass/plastic food containers with food residue to the mixed plastic/metal/glass recycle bin.  NO – the food residue attracts vermin, smells, and can contaminate paper and cardboard in the recycling system.
  • Recycling common alkaline batteries. (NO – here’s why)
  • What other recycling questions have you been wondering about?  Get them all answered on the Recycle MA website!

Also check out Green Needham’s “Ask the Recycler” and “Recycling Tips – Best Practices” pages on our website for some more great recycling information that’s specific to Needham.

“Recycle Smart” Website Answers Your Questions About What to Recycle!
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2 thoughts on ““Recycle Smart” Website Answers Your Questions About What to Recycle!

  • November 21, 2021 at 3:25 pm

    My understanding was that the boxes cat litter comes in, because they are waxed cardboard, cannot be recycled as cardboard. Is this correct? Your website indicates they can be recycled as carboard.

    • November 24, 2021 at 1:48 pm

      Hi David, thanks for your question! I looked up “Waxed cardboard” on the Recycle Smart MA site (which is actually run by the state of Massachusetts, not by Green Needham) and it says that it’s only compostable, not recycleable. I suspect there are some cat litter boxes that may not come as waxed cardboard, maybe if the cat litter is bagged in plastic inside?

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