Your Guide to Recycling Almost Everything, Part 2
Let’s be the change we want to see in Chicago.
Sadly, less than 10% of what Chicago residents toss in their blue bins is actually recycled. The single stream method of recycling results in contaminated materials, unusable materials and high sorting costs.
Materials used for food must be rinsed or clean. Many plastics, paper and glass cannot be accepted.
To improve the percentage of recycling success, recycle only what can be accepted in your blue bins.
Accepted in Blue Bins
White or lightly colored unshredded paper, file folders.
Newspapers, magazines, junk mail, cardboard circulars, paper bags, phone books.
Rinsed aluminum cans, foil, pie tins.
Rinsed steel, tin, copper or brass containers and cans.
Rinsed glass jars or food containers.
Cardboard food/cereal boxes, paper towel rolls, paper egg cartons.
Flattened corrugated (cardboard) containers and boxes.
Rinsed plastic bottles and containers with triangle numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7.
Not Accepted in Blue Bins
DO NOT throw in materials made of both paper and plastic, e.g., milk or juice cartons with plastic openings, and aseptic boxes and pouches for soup, broth, juice, etc.
No plastic bags.
No greasy pizza boxes.
No food waste.
No window, mirror or dish glass.
No ribbons, balloons or Christmas tree lights.
No electric cords.
Remember the 6R’s for the Environment:
REFUSE. Stop buying single use plastics, accepting take out containers that cannot be reused or recycled; only buy what you can fully consume or use.
REDUCE. This choice will make a huge difference in our landfills, oceans and pocketbooks. Reduce paper, plastic, energy, water – the list goes on.
REUSE. This takes a bit of effort sometimes but is well worth it. Our grandmothers reused (almost) everything, remember?
REPAIR or REPURPOSE. Save money, reduce waste and add to the useful life of a small appliance or tool.
REPLACE. Sometimes replacing something is far better for the environment than keeping it. Energy efficient appliances, electric or hybrid cars, thermal windows, high efficiency boilers and HVAC systems are among those things.
RECYCLE. This is the least effective means of reducing landfill waste or helping the environment.
The Green Sanctuary Group of the Beverly Unitarian Church will host a household hazardous waste collection Sat., Aug. 1 in the 19th Ward. Exact location will be announced closer to the date.
The City of Chicago’s only site that accepts household hazardous waste is 1150 N. North Branch St. (Goose Island). This site also accepts electronics and is open Tuesdays, 7 a.m. to 12 p.m.; Thursdays, 2 to 7 p.m.; and the first Saturday of the month, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
A good website to learn more about how, when and where to recycle just about anything is www.earth911.com.
(Thank you to Eileen Klees for researching and compiling the comprehensive lists of recycling methods and locations for The Villager. Part 1 covered drop off sites for a wide range of materials and was published in the February issue of The Villager. It is available online at www.bapa.org/Villager.)