Welcome to Bay Disposal & Recycling, where we bring you Recycling news and information each week. This week we’re looking at some little-known recycling facts, debunking some recycling myths, and answering your most pressing recycling questions.

Let’s get Smart.

  1. How can I remember which plastics are recyclable?

We’ve heard this many times, and we’re pleased to provide a variety of answers. The quickest reference we can give you is to commit to memory which PETE plastics numbers are recyclable: 1,2, and 5.

Remember—Styrofoam is NEVER recyclable. Click Here to learn more.

  1. How do I prepare my recyclables?

It’s really important to remove all traces of food or product from recyclable items. The best advice we have is to rinse all bottles, cans, and containers before tossing them into that blue bin.

Guess what? You don’t need to remove the labels from cans or bottles!

  1. How can I recycle?

If your neighborhood, apartment complex, or commercial business doesn’t offer recycling (Click Here to fix that) you can always search local drop-offs and make a quick weekly visit.

Just make sure you don’t package your recycling in a plastic bag—the workers may just toss the entire thing into a landfill due to high volume. Don’t let your recyclables get wasted!

  1. I can recycle this … right?

Aspirational recycling is a real thing, and it’s becoming a big problem. Because people truly want to do the right thing, they convince themselves that certain things are recyclable, and behave accordingly. But the sad reality is that things like Stryofoam and plastic shopping bags simply aren’t recyclable—no matter how much we want them to be.

Remember: A nonrecyclable item can ruin an entire batch of recyclables. If you’re unsure, do a quick online search (we have no excuses for not knowing!) and place the item in the appropriate receptacle. Click Here for our Beginner’s Guide to Recycling.

  1. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

Recycling isn’t the first step, it’s the third and final. Before we ever reach that phase, we must first:

  • Reduce our waste production by purchasing, consuming, and wasting less. Spend an extra moment in the aisle to determine whether you really need that plastic doodad, or consider swapping out your preferred brand for an ecofriendly alternative.
  • Reuse things as long as possible before disposing of them for good. For example, aluminum foil can be rinsed or wiped clean and reused multiple times. Bonus: you’ll save money (and reduce waste).
  • Recycling is the final step, and this has never been more critical than right now.

Because our recycling facilities are at capacity (which is great!) America has historically shipped much of our recycling overseas. A policy change in China this year has changed everything, and in many U.S. cities, recycling facilities are being forced to dump in landfills.

Knowing this, it’s more important than ever to reduce our consumption and reuse everything possible—even disposal items.

It’s our planet, and we’ve only got one. We all share this beautiful, amazing home of ours. Let’s work together to preserve it for millennia to come.