Recycling is one of the easiest actions people take to help the environment. When we recycle we divert waste from the landfill which extends the life of landfills and reduces methane emissions (a potent greenhouse gas). Recycling brings new uses to tossed items, which conserves virgin materials (like trees), energy, and water. According to waste studies, 50% of the trash we throw in our black garbage bins can be diverted by recycling or composting.
What Goes Where:
Blue recycling bins - paper, plastic, and glass
Green Composting bins - food waste, soiled paper products, and paper food containers
Black trash bin - everything else
Hazardous waste - paint and painting supplies, pesticides and other chemicals, car parts, and fluorescent and CFL lightbulbs
E-waste - broken computers, printers, and small appliances and gadgets.
Bulky items Bulky items - mattresses and appliances – schedule a pick-up with Recology by calling at 650-595-3900 or drop off at the Shoreway Environmental Center in San Carlos.
Waste Quiz - Are you a recycling master or novice? Test your knowledge below:
1. Where should soiled pizza boxes be thrown away?
A. Green composting cart
B. Blue recycling cart
C. Returned to the store
2. Do you need to remove the cap on plastic bottles for recycling?
3. Are paper towels and napkins recyclable?
4. Where should old batteries be recycled?
A. In the trash
B. In a sealed bag on top of recycling carts for the driver to collect for special recycling
C. In the bottom of a kitchen drawer
5. What kind of plastic CANNOT be recycled?
A. Black plastic containers
B. Bubble wrap
C. Plastic wrap
D. Plastic bags
E. All of the above
6. What items can be dropped off at the Household Hazardous Waste facility?
B. Fluorescent lamps, computers and TVs, old paint, cleaning products and pesticides
C. Large Appliances
7. Do food containers need to be rinsed out before being recycling?
8. Which of the following items CANNOT be thrown into the green composting cart?
A. Meat and bones
B. Chinese food carry out boxes
C. Wine corks
E. Grass and leaves
F. Paper coffee cups
G. Pizza boxes
9. Where can you recycle e-waste, like old TVs, computers, and CDs?
A. Schedule a drop-off through the Household Hazardous Waste program
B. Drop off items at an electronic scrap recycling event
C. Drop off items at Green Citizen, a local electronic waste recycling company
D. All of the above
10. What is the turnaround time from when an aluminum can is recycled to becoming a new can?
A. Two days
B. Two years
C. Two months
1. A – Even though they are made of cardboard, food soiled pizza boxes are best composted instead of recycled due to pizza residues on the box.
2. A – It’s better to keep the cap on bottles to prevent food from leaking. Same goes for keeping lids on containers and jars.
3. A – The fibers in paper towels and napkins are too short to be recycled into new products; paper towels and napkins should go in the green composting cart.
4. B – Old batteries may also be dropped off at the San Mateo County Household Hazardous Waste facility(http://www.smchealth.org/hhw), dropped off at the Shoreway Environmental Center in San Carlos, or dropped off in select stores.
5. E – All these items cannot be recycled and should go in the black garbage cart, or even better, not used at all. Plastic bags jam the conveyor belts at the transfer station and should not be thrown in the blue recycling cart; instead, they could be recycled at special grocery store kiosks.
6. B – To schedule a drop-off of household hazardous waste times visit, http://www.smchealth.org/hhw;
7. A – food containers do not need to be rinsed, however, you could wipe them clean with a paper towel (which can then be composted) and/or leave food containers mostly empty with the lid kept on to avoid leaks and spillage.
8. D – Diapers go in the black garbage cart.
9. D – All great options for disposing electronic waste.
10. C – Recycled aluminum cans return to shelves in as little as two months after collection, re-melting, manufacturing, and distribution. Aluminum cans may be recycled an infinite amount of times; while an aluminum can thrown away in the landfill takes 200-500 years to biodegrade. Recycling aluminum, as well as paper, glass, and plastics, saves natural resources and requires less energy and water than manufacturing brand new products from virgin materials.