Almost anything can be recycled, but just because something is recyclable doesn’t necessarily mean it will be recycled. It depends less on the composition of something and more on the policies of local recycling agencies. Small agencies and garbage collection companies tend to recycle less because they do not have the facilities to handle many recyclable materials, and do not collect enough to justify the expense of outsourcing some recycling services. For people who are really concerned about recycling, it may be necessary to leave recyclable materials in various places. For example, plastic bags may not be accepted in recycling at the edge, but the grocery store may have a collection point for them.
When it comes to plastics, most plastics are actually recyclable, although some are harder to recycle than others. Plastics are marked with numerical codes that indicate what type of plastic has been used in the manufacture of the product. Recycling companies usually list the codes they accept for recycling, and plastics marked with other codes will not be recycled by the collection agency. However, some communities have collection points for plastics not processed by the recycling company, and it is also possible to mail them to a central location.
Glass is fully recyclable, although recyclers need to classify different types of glass. Again, a recycling company can dictate the types of glass you will accept. If a recycling company excludes a certain type of glass, there may be a local resource that will take care of it. For example, a scrap yard or a car body shop can pick up car windows.
The paper is also highly recyclable. Many recycling companies today accept all paper and cardboard and do not require separation. Others may request that bright materials be recycled separately. Appliances and electronics such as computers, mobile phones, fax machines, ovens, etc. they can also be recycled, although they cannot be collected. Technically considered “electronic waste,” electronic devices can be treated in a special facility to break them down into recyclable components, while household appliances must be treated by specialized scrap.
Metals can be recycled, although some special products may have to be taken to a scrap yard. Some metals really have monetary value; copper, for example, can be sold by weight. Products such as tires and engine oil can also be recycled, although many people don’t know it. They may need to be picked up by a specialist company. Many gas stations and car shops accept motor oil and tires for recycling, sometimes for a small fee.
Fabrics can be recycled, although again they may need to be treated by a special company. Biodegradable products such as garden waste and food are not recyclable, but can be composted. People who do not have the space or inclination for composting can arrange collection by a company that makes compost commercially.
It is always a good idea to ask a recycling company directly if there are any questions about a recyclable product. If the company does not accept this, they may have suggestions on possible recycling options.