Ask the Experts About Recycling

We are fortunate to have a talented Board of Directors for our organization.  Two Board members, Kim Hynes, Executive Director of Central Virginia Waste Management Authority, and Tad Phillips, VP Business Development at TFC Recycling, recently presented at the (virtual) Virginia Green Travel Conference.  They spoke about the recycling industry and how we need to pay attention as the world changes and adapts to supply and demand.  They assured us that the recycling infrastructure is alive and fully functional.  And they shed light on some common recycling myths.  Here are a few.

You may have thought that if the product has the familiar “chasing arrows” on it, you can automatically put it in the recycling bin, right?  Wrong!  Just because a product has the arrows on it DOES NOT denote it’s recyclable.   You can learn more about these labels online at How2Recycle.

Another widely debated topic is whether or not to toss the cardboard pizza box in with the recycling – yea or nay?  Interestingly, there was a 2020 study published by WestRock and Domino’s Pizza called (appropriately enough) the Grease Cheese Study.  WestRock concluded, “Therefore, there is no significant technical reason to prohibit post-consumer pizza boxes from the recycle stream.”  However, you still need to consider issues of mold or critters if you leave a greasy cheesy pizza box in your garage or outdoor container for two weeks until the recycling container is emptied.

Above all, it’s important that you make the effort to learn the guidelines for recycling in your local area.  But one consistent fact is that avoiding contaminants is critical to all recycling!

– DO NOT put recycling items in plastic bags, or throw plastic bags in with your household recyclables;

– DO NOT INCLUDE items that could become tangled, such as wires, hoses, cords, or clothing;

– DO NOT INCLUDE food waste or liquids;

– DO NOT INCLUDE electronics or batteries.

We’re grateful to have Kim and Tad on our Board, and hope that you’ve learned a few things from them too.