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Questions tagged [recycling]

using materials that would otherwise be waste to manufacture new materials. For questions specifically on [upcycling] use that tag, for questions on [reuse] use that tag.

12
votes
2answers
12k views

Why can't black plastic be recycled?

My local council now takes most types of plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays in the recycling bin. But they specifically exclude black plastic containers. Is there a reason for this? Why can't ...
5
votes
2answers
589 views

If coffee pods are made of aluminium, what are the negative environmental effects?

The boss of Nespresso has called coffee pods an environmental disaster. One of my friends recently commented: Coffee pods are the environmental equivalent of beating baby seals to death. I'm ...
6
votes
1answer
132 views

How to recycle disintegrated plastic bags, without negatively impacting the environment?

We've just gotten some old books out of the loft, and it appears the plastic bags they were in have disintegrated/biodegraded. What is the most environmentally friendly way to dispose of them?
6
votes
2answers
80 views

Does the Reduce-Reuse-Recycle rule always apply?

Does the triple-R rule (or its extended version like Reduce-Reuse-Repair-Recycle) apply to everything, in that order, as the most sustainable process? Just wondering if you could think of any ...
5
votes
1answer
43 views

How do municipalities calculate reported diversion and recycling rates?

How do municipalities calculate reported diversion and recycling rates? From what I can tell, most are using surveys of private recycling companies without a standard system of measure or process to ...
5
votes
1answer
454 views

How does bioplastic recyclability compare with petrochemical-based plastic recyclability?

I am curious to know how recyclable bioplastics are. For example, how recyclable would a polylactic acid (PLA) cup be when compared to a conventional PET cup? Can the material go through a comparable ...
7
votes
1answer
674 views

How recyclable is a sealable coffee bag?

I am aware of a few ways to "upcycle" a sealable coffee (ground or whole beans) bag (see photo), but how recyclable is it? I am sure it depends a lot on where I live, but I was wondering if you knew ...
11
votes
4answers
230 views

What alternatives there are to recycling paper?

My parents live in a small place where paper is not recycled. They don't even separate the paper from the rest of the residues. I can't carry their paper away to recycle it when I visit them so I was ...
5
votes
3answers
441 views

What will be the effect of PET-eating bacteria in society?

In a very recent paper scientists talk about the discovery of a bacterium ("Ideonella sakaiensis") which can "eat" PET, one of the most common types of plastic. I was wondering what effect this ...
9
votes
1answer
101 views

Recycling symbols on greeting card - what do these symbols mean?

I just bought a card for some friends. It was published by a company called Portfolio, London. It has the following printed on the back: 1. What do these symbols mean? 2. Where do they come from? 3....
6
votes
1answer
2k views

How can I recycle a disposable lighter?

I have been collecting lately disposable lighters as these: I want to recycle them but I don't know exactly what I should do. Should I separate the metallic and plastic parts and recycle them ...
5
votes
1answer
97 views

Glass Recycling Case Study

Does anyone have a case study on community glass recycling. Specifically the cost/ton to crush/pulverize and screen into usable traction control sand for winter applications?
6
votes
1answer
145 views

How can I enforce the garbage recycling?

Despite we have adopted some European legislation here in Estonia regarding the recycling in 2004 and we have got some containers for sorted wasted on the streets for those environmental enthusiats, I ...
5
votes
2answers
479 views

Store drop-off vs curbside recycling plastic bags

The curbside recycling service in my town accepts plastic bags. I wonder whether there is any difference in the recycling process (thus there is any environmental benefit) between this and taking them ...
8
votes
1answer
165 views

Scrapping a mouse - what should I focus on?

First of all, I would truly appreciate your help since I'm still a rookie when it comes to scrapping. I stumble upon e-waste quite often which is the prime reason why have I decided to become a ...
1
vote
1answer
116 views

What is the most valuable “thing” I should focus on when scrapping electronics? [closed]

Since I'm still getting to know the world of sustainable living, recycling, scrapping, and everything related to that - I would be very grateful if someone gave me a few pieces of advice. I would ...
10
votes
3answers
3k views

Is the bag of cat food recyclable?

I am still getting to know the world of recycling and I have come across a minor issue when it comes to learning the difference between recyclable items. I have several cat food bags (OK CAT Health &...
8
votes
2answers
442 views

Reusing or recycling old CD's and DVD's

I have some stacks of old CD's and DVD's. The piles includes traditional CD's and DVD's, as well as writable and re-writable discs of various types. In order to prevent these from ending up in a ...
9
votes
1answer
337 views

Composting used white shredded paper

I happen to have a lot of white used paper (with black ink on it, either from a printer or a pen), and also a very wet compost bin (I guess it's because my soil is heavy clay and the drainage is quite ...
6
votes
2answers
163 views

What should I do with my old smart phone?

What are the recycling methods applicable for a smart phone? People often change smart phones and the number of unused phones have become a problem for the environment. I came to know about some ...
7
votes
1answer
127 views

Coffee grounds to water plants

So, I want to try recycling the water I use to rinse the coffee grounds out of my morning coffee. The thought is, a plant of some description on the (north facing) windowsil of my kitchen. The ...
4
votes
1answer
3k views

How can we dispose or recycle hair clippings from barber shops?

Near by my home there are barber shops where they throw hair clippings in the dustbin and when the contents are burned it gives a bad smell. How I can suggest them to properly dispose or recycle the ...
2
votes
0answers
110 views

Building a boat - out of recyclables [closed]

Looking for ideas to make a boat out of mostly recycled material. Two idea's that come to mind is cardboard and use weather sealer on it, and caulking the edges or plastic bottles, jugs, and the like ...
4
votes
2answers
180 views

Are there any self sustainable sanitation solutions for remote and underdeveloped areas?

My organization wants to install toilets and some kind of recycling method in remote underdeveloped areas. The installments should be suitable for hilly and mountainous terrain. Since the area we ...
6
votes
1answer
205 views

What is current best practice for setting up recycling?

I'm interested in public policy as regards recycling. I recently read an interesting Atlantic article on single-stream recycling, which noted that single-stream certainly makes it as easy as possible ...
5
votes
1answer
701 views

What are the five most widely used consumer products made of recycled plastic?

By most widely used I mean in terms of sales annually (worldwide). With consumer products I follow the definition found on the BusinessDictionary, referring to merchandise or other item of common or ...
3
votes
3answers
220 views

Recycling plastic food tubs that have no resin identification code?

In my local council (I live in the UK), one category of confirmed recyclables is "plastic bottles, pots, tubs & trays". But surely not all plastic tubs can be recycled? Some of the plastic tubs I ...
6
votes
3answers
585 views

How difficult would it be to make things out of glass at home, using a solar reflector?

With a solar reflector/concentrator that was a square metre or two in size, I would expect it would be possible to get temperatures high enough to melt glass, even if only for a small sized object. ...
5
votes
2answers
751 views

How can corrugated cardboard from packaging be compacted for storage before recycling?

A 1500+ employees company is trying to be greener and instead of throwing cardboard packaging out it sends it for recycling. Recycling company won't accept less than several dozen kilograms of ...
14
votes
3answers
10k views

How to properly dispose of bubble wrap envelopes?

In those envelopes paper is often glued pretty well to bubble wrap portion, making it hard to separate. On top of that bubble wrap itself is seldom recycled - for example in my area of Ontario, Canada ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

Is there a way to melt down plastic lenses used for eyewear?

I'm looking to recycle used eyewear plastic lenses for a sculpture. I want to try to manipulate the plastic to give it a more organic look. I'm also concerned about toxic fumes, so I want to find the ...
10
votes
2answers
9k views

Can plastic with only the Japanese recycling symbol be recycled in the US?

I bought a vacuum cleaner that came wrapped in several plastic bags. The bags only have one recycling code printed on them, the Japanese pura māku: Can these bags be recycled with ♴ or ♶ plastic film ...
7
votes
3answers
492 views

When buying beer is refilling growlers better than recycling bottles and cans?

I'm trying to decide if it's worth buying all my beer in reusable growlers (32-64 oz. / 0.9-1.9 liter reusable glass containers). I live in New York, so doing so requires me to go out of my way but is ...
6
votes
1answer
471 views

Does burning used motor oil to generate heat on-site have a lower impact than sending it for recycling?

The service station next to my office saves the used oil from oil changes to burn in a special heater in the colder months. It is my understanding that used motor oil can be recycled in a number of ...
10
votes
3answers
3k views

Would it be possible to recycle all plastic into bricks and use them for building or insulation?

I've had this idea for a few years and wonder if it would be feasible. Rather than simply recycling bottles and bags in blue bins, if there could be a way to melt down all types of plastic and mold ...
8
votes
1answer
226 views

How much of paper gets recycled?

I am a grad student who can't stand reading pdfs on a laptop. Combined with my minor ADD, I always end up on reddit or stackexchange websites wasting time. Also, when I present my research to my ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

When are manufacturers required to mark products and packaging with recycling codes?

I just purchased a consumer product. It was packaged in a clear plastic 'disposable' container. This shipping container is not marked in any way. There is no material designation or recycling code ...
2
votes
1answer
396 views

How to dispose of coated paper take-out container

I have a paper-based take-out container from a restaurant take-home meal: The inside is lined with some waterproof coating. I can't tell if it is wax or plastic. "Please recycle this container", it ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

How to best dispose of a plant-based 100% compostable plastic ECO-CUP?

I would like to dispose of a plastic cup: Bottom view: Markings on the cup say: 100% COMPOSTABLE & BIODEGRADABLE MADE FROM 100% RENEWABLE RESOURCE ECO-CUP® Made from plant NatureWorks® Type 7 ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

In general, is cardboard with a plastic coating acceptable for recycling?

Many children's toys and other items come with a box or package made of cardboard with a thin plastic coating. How does this affect the recycling process? Can paper recycling facilities generally ...
3
votes
2answers
601 views

One big container vs multiple small containers

I use Fage yogurt as an example, but if possible, I'd like a general answer that can apply to products that are similarly packaged (ice cream tubs, detergent, etc.). Assume the consumer consumes 1kg ...
12
votes
4answers
895 views

Why the tiny input openings on recycle bins?

My local recycling bins look somewhat like these: As you can see, the opening can facilitate a single item at a time. How is one supposed to dump a large sack of plastic packages in the plastics bin?...
13
votes
5answers
289 views

How 'clean' should something be for recycling?

Outside my apartment, there are 3 rubbish bins. One for glass, another for metals, paper and plastics and a third without a label, for bio-waste I guess. So I wonder what are some guidelines for when ...
18
votes
1answer
479 views

Are rechargeable batteries better for the environment than disposables even if the batteries are recycled?

I try to use NiMH rechargeables in place of regular disposables. The obvious benefit of rechargeables is that not as many wind up in a landfill, but what if you recycle all your batteries anyway? Are ...
7
votes
1answer
169 views

Is recycling cell batteries (highly) profitable?

Recently I've heard of people in our region (central Europe) traveling around to buy used button cell batteries of all sizes and types for a moderate price. Thinking about the price, the batteries can ...
14
votes
1answer
155 views

Are Tetra Pak tomatoes more sustainable than tinned?

Lots of UK supermarkets have recently started selling chopped tomatoes in Tetra Paks, rather than the tins they were always in. My first thought was that this was environmentally bad - given recycling ...
12
votes
2answers
183 views

What's the most sustainable way of disposing with a used battery?

We are advised by our various governments that the most environmentally-friendly way to dispose of a battery is to give it in to a designated battery recycling plant. But could the process of doing ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

Repurposing polystyrene packaging material as ceiling insulation; safety and techniques

I'm aware there are fire safety and other regulations that ensure the various types of ceiling insulation on the market are safe to use. If I was to cut unwanted polystyrene packaging material into a ...
6
votes
2answers
15k views

Do #4 (♶ LDPE) plastic bags need to be recycled at grocery stores like #2 (♴ HDPE) plastic bags?

Many recycling programs don't accept #2 (♴ - high-density polyethylene - HDPE) plastic bags (only #2 rigid plastic). Does the same apply to #4 (♶ - low-density polyethylene - LDPE) plastic? I've ...
16
votes
1answer
5k views

Where can I recycle #81 composite materials?

I noticed my pet food bag has a recycling symbol with a new number in it, #81: The only resource I've found about this symbol is the Wikipedia page on recycling codes, which describes it as Paper/...