Recycling is an effective way to do your part in cleaning up the planet, however, there are certain items that should never be thrown in your recycle bin.
Here are a few unacceptable materials that can’t be recycled:
- Light Bulbs – Certain light bulbs, such as CFLs and fluorescents, contain mercury and are therefore unsuitable for recycling.
- Needles/medical waste – All medical waste is non-recyclable due to the risk of blood-borne pathogens.
- Pyrex – Pyrex doesn’t melt down correctly as it is specifically treated to sustain high temperatures.
- Drinking glasses – Glasses are made with lead glass and are also treated to withstand high temperatures so, like Pyrex, they aren’t able to be melted down in the recycling process.
- Clothing – Clothing clogs up recycling machinery and is best donated to your local thrift or charity shop.
- Ceramics – Ceramics can’t be melted down and are better off being donated to thrift stores or crushed down for concrete and gravel.
- Toys – There is no telling what different types of materials are used in making toys and are better off being donated.
- Hangers – Both wire and plastic hangers are non-recyclable.
- Diapers – Diapers, both clean and dirty, are not suitable for recycling.
- Mirrors – The reflective coating used to make mirrors makes it difficult for recycling plants to break them down.
- Aerosol cans – Any substance contained in aerosol cans is considered hazardous waste and should be treated as such.
- Aluminium foil – Aluminium cans are fine but aluminium foil can’t be recycled.
- Plastic bags and cling wrap – Most facilities can only break down rigid plastics. Plastic bags get tangled in the machinery and cause jams.
- Waxed paper – Due to the waxy coating on waxed paper the machines are unable to recycle it.
- Credit/gift cards – They are made with a type of plastic that’s difficult to break down and contain embedded chips, holograms and magnetic strips which are non-recyclable.
- Pizza boxes – A non-used pizza box is fine, but any boxes that have grease and oil stains are not recyclable.
- Batteries – Batteries contain heavy metals that pose a health risk.
- CDs and DVDs – The discs are made from materials that are impossible to recycle. This also goes for their cases.
- Dental floss – Dental floss is coated and therefore non-recyclable. The plastic dispensers used to contain dental floss contain metal and also can’t be recycled.
- Windows – Windows are chemically treated in a number of ways which makes them unsuitable for recycling.
- Electronics – Electronics contain mercury, lead and other toxins.
- Household chemicals – All household chemicals are considered hazardous waste and should be disposed off at a hazardous waste centre.
- Packing materials – Various packing materials that are not to be thrown in your recycle bin include Styrofoam and packing peanuts. Some facilities, such as Averda’s materials recovery facility in Blackheath, do accept bubble wrap.
Make sure you know what can and cannot be put in the recycling bin. This list of items contains waste that could damage the machines or pose threats to the handlers at the recycling facility.
Averda is a leading waste management provider with over 50 years of experience across three continents. Through growth, transformation and engagement, we strive to find new ways of managing waste while protecting the community and environment.
By pairing international expertise with local insights, we have secured our position as one of South Africa’s most respected providers of waste management and industrial cleaning services. We also operate in the recycling, pipe inspection, CCTV, infrastructure inspection, hydro-demolition, high-pressure water jetting and catalyst handling industries.
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