Do you know how to recycle if you live in the City of Fernandina Beach? If you live in the city you likely have a trash can with a yellow lid on it. That is your recycling bin, but not all trash is created equal. Many of the things we put in our recycling can ruin an entire load of recyclables, sending it to the landfill instead.

I’ve been a big fan of recycling what I can for many years, however there is one thing I kept doing wrong and it could ruin the recycling machines. Keep reading and I’ll share the error of my ways with you.

When in doubt, throw it out!

Recycle your paper products including cardboard boxes, paper, and junk mail. DO NOT recycle used pizza boxes. Grease and oils from just one pizza box can send a load of recyclables directly to the land fill. Do not pass go, do not collect new energy.

When in doubt, throw it out!

Aluminum and steel cans are recyclable. Did you know 2 million smart phones can be charged with the energy made from just one ton of aluminum? DO NOT recycle Styrofoam! Period. Apparently it uses more energy to recycle Styrofoam than it is worth.

When in doubt, throw it out!

Plastic bottles and their caps can also be recycled. Squish down the bottle and put the lids on tight. However, DO NOT recycle plastic bags. One plastic bag can get tangled in the machines and it may takes hours to get the system up and running again.

When in doubt, throw it out!

Ready for my confession? I keep two trash cans in the kitchen. One for normal trash and one for recyclables. Of course, I put a trash bag in each of the cans. What was I doing wrong? When it came time to take the trash out, I would pull the trash bags from each of the cans, carry the two bags outside and throw one in the garbage and one in the recycling container. Did you guess it yet? The trash bag that held perfectly fine recyclables sent the entire load of recyclables to the land fill. Now when I take out the recycling, I take the can to the bin and dump it out. After several uses of the trash bag liner, I will throw that in the garbage can, not the recycles.

A good rule of thumb not to ruin an entire load?

When in doubt, throw it out!

For a complete A – Z list of what you can and cannot recylce, visit https://keepnassaubeautiful.org/programs/recycle-and-waste-disposal/.

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