What Can I recycle?

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Far too often, this is the conversation that occurs when it comes down to what can and cannot be recycled.
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I can quite honestly say that I was even unsure about what exactly can be recycled until I did a little digging, here’s what I found:

Recyclable Items:

tin

Tins and Cans

paper

Cardboard and Paper

plastic-cup

Plastics

Glass bottles and Jars

light-bulb

E- Waste

tin

Tins and Cans

  • Metals are used to make new products of the same quality – conserving irreplaceable natural resources
  • Recyclingย  tins and cans can save about 95% of energy needed to make a new can from iron ore
  • It doesn’t matter if the cans are crushed, rusted or burnt – they can still be recycled
paper

Cardboard and paper

  • One of the best materials for recycling
  • For every ton of paper recycled – 17 trees are saved, 40% less energy is used and 30% less water is needed

Paper that cannot be recycled:

  • Wet or dirty paper – tissues, toilette paper, wet wipes, food wrappings

  • Tetra Pak – fruit juices, long-life milk, custard cartons (can be recycled but not with general recycling – more info in a few sentences timeโ€ฆ)

  • Wax or plastic coated packaging – juice boxes, milk cartons

  • Self- adhesive paper – sticky notes

  • Carbon paper

  • Chemically treated or photographic paper

  • Dog food bags, potato bags (they have a wax inner which cannot be recycled)

plastic-cup

Plastics

Once again, plastics have to be difficult and make massive complications when it comes to recycling. Since most plastic is made from petroleum- based chemicals, which means they contain oil, gas and coal – they cannot degrade, let alone be recycled.

Unfortunately, other than for PET, HDPE and LDPE plastic types, there is very little demand within the recycling industry in South Africa to recover plastics from post-consumer sources, which means they currently end up at a landfill site ๐Ÿ™

Heres a little theory we should all get familiar with: PET – polyethylene terephthalate (can be recycled)
  • is the most common thermoplastic polymer resin of the polyester family and is used in fibres for clothing, containers for liquids and foods, thermoforming for manufacturing
HDPE – high- density polyethylene (can be recycled)
  • is aย polyethyleneย thermoplastic made from petroleum. It is sometimes called “alkathene” or “polythene” when used for pipes.
LDPE – low- density polyethylene (can be recycled)
  • is a thermoplastic made from the monomer ethylene. It was the first grade ofย polyethylene, produced in 1933 by Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) using a high pressure process via free radical polymerization. Its manufacture employs the same method today
PP – polypropylene
  • also known as polypropene, is a thermoplastic polymer used in a wide variety of applications.
(donโ€™t worry, I canโ€™t remember all of them either.. its the thought that counts ๐Ÿ˜‰

Glass bottles and Jars

  • Recycling a glass bottle saves enough electricity to light a 100 watt bulb for four hours (could you imagine how much cash we could save on electricity if everyone used glass instead of plastic and recycled it!!)
  • One ton of glass recycled = 1.2 tons of raw material and 114 litres of oil is saved.
  • Butttttโ€ฆ. you must remember – always remove bottle tops and corks from glass bottles and containers because there are various glass products that cannot be recycled and could ruin a whole batch of recycled glass.
light-bulb

E- Waste

  • Yes, there is such a thing as e- waste (all electrical and electronic equipment and devices that no longer serve a purpose – largely due to some crazy new invention ๐Ÿ˜›
  • If you donโ€™t know what to do with your stone age computer but its taking up space and gathering dust in a corner of your house, please do not make it our environments problem.
  • E-waste, especially computers are one of the messiest contributors to environmental damage as they give off carcinogens and toxic waste.
  • HOWEVERโ€ฆ a slight bit of effort is required but hey, whats better motivation than to know you’re helping save the planet ๐Ÿ˜‰

All the above information and facts were used from and can be found at:ย 

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