10 Ways to Improve Your Recycling November 7, 2021 Email There is a common misconception that everything that gets put in the recycling bin ends up getting recycled. However, this is not the case! Just because an item gets placed in a recycling bin does not mean that it is allowed (and will be actually recycled!) in IWMAs recycling program. Follow these tips to improve your recycling: Visit the IWMA Recycling Guide to get a full list of what you can and cannot place in the recycling bin. Empty plastic food containers of all food and give them a quick rinse to remove any residue before recycling. Wet or soiled paper cannot be placed in the recycling bin. Empty liquid contents from all bottles and jugs. Break down cardboard boxes so that they lie flat in the bin. Shred confidential documents selectively as shredded paper cannot usually be recycled. It’s not always necessary to shred a document entirely. You really only need to shred the parts that contain private information. Bag them before tossing so that the scraps don’t end up as litter! Take batteries, paint, pesticide and other chemicals to the local household hazardous waste (HHW) facility – it’s free! Batteries can be returned to the retailer where they were perched in SLO County. Pay attention to product packaging! Aim for items packaged in one material type, as items made of more than one material, like soy milk containers that contain foil, paper and plastic, usually cannot be recycled. Remember that reuse comes before recycling – by reducing your use of single-use containers and bags and opting for reusable containers and bags, you can avoid having to recycle altogether. Is your item still usable? Avoid adding to the landfill or recycling stream by donating usable items at a local thrift store or posting items online. When in doubt, throw it out! Don’t “wishcycle,” as this can potentially end up contaminating your entire recycling bin.