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November 15, 2021 2 min read

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle... Right? Unfortunately, recycling isn’t as easy as you might think. 

Dropping off your glass, plastic, aluminum, and cardboard items at the end of your driveway or down a chute doesn’t guarantee that their life cycle will continue. Here’s our crash course in Recycling 101: How to recycle different itemswhat materials can be recycled, and why reusable and refillable items are best. 

Recycling bins

Think Local

In recent years, legislation surrounding recycling may have become more strict in your local community. The first step to responsible recycling is to educate yourself on your area’s recycling policies.

Thinking local also means educating yourself on initiatives in your community that help curb consumption. The Buy Nothing Project is all about buying less and sharing more with your neighbors. Founded in 2013, the Buy Nothing Project connects people through hyperlocal gifting of your excess products otherwise destined for the dumpster. As the name suggests, there is no solicitation, money, or bartering. Everything is free, no strings attached. 

Which Materials Can Be Recycled

Commonly recyclable materials typically include cardboard, paper, glass bottles and jars, metal containers including tin, aluminum, and steel, food waste, and plastic products. Plastic is a tricky outlier as the code on the bottle or bin indicates its ability to be recycled. For a full breakdown ofrecycling different types of plastics, we recommend this resource

Certain materials will also need to be rinsed, cleaned, and disassembled depending on your area regulations. This includes spray bottles, lotion pumps, and other personal hygiene “empties”. Can we get a refill around here?

Hard to Dispose of Items

Some items are hazardous (and illegal) to dispose of incorrectly. These include:

  • Automotive products
  • Batteries
  • Electronics
  • Fluorescent light bulbs
  • Devices containing Mercury
  • Paint
  • Garden and Household chemicals

Safely dispose of these items at your local hazardous waste drop off facility or recycle by mail. Keep in mind these hazardous, hard to dispose of items during your next shopping trip and stray away from owning them in excess! 

Reuse and Refill

It makes sense that repurposing and refilling your existing products is better than recycling and repurchasing them. Refillable packaging uses 45% less water, 70% less CO2 emissions, and 60% less energy to create than single use products! OLIKA hydrating hand sanitizer was designed to be refillable for this very reason. When possible, opt for refillable alternatives to your daily products so you’re recycling less and reusing more!

For more information on recycling, clean wellness, and sustainable living, check out our entire collection of blog posts!

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