Along the way, I’ve learned many things are not recycled that I thought were. That’s the danger with recycling, it lures you into thinking you’re doing something good for the environment, when it actuality, despite your best intentions, more often than not, that item lands up taking space in the landfill. In fact, only about 8 percent of plastic is recycled, according to the EPA. My list is for NYC, check your own municipality to find out what its regulations are:
1. Plastic food containers. That includes takeout containers, deli containers, even the mini sauce containers used at places like Rickshaw Dumpling (below) are not recycled. Now think about how many of those you go through in a day, week, month or a year. Scary, right?
2. Plastic bags. Again, you may think you’re doing the right thing by bringing your plastic bags back to the store for “recycling”, but the truth is those flimsy bags rip so easily, more often than not they wind up in a landfill after one use—or worse, polluting the oceans.
3. Cosmetics. Items that have two or more types of materials, such as plastic, metal and a mirror will not be recycled even if you toss them in the recycling bin. A better option is to take them into an Origins store, which will go the extra mile to give your old compacts a new life.
4. Bottle caps. A weird one, right? Technically in NYC we’re supposed to toss our plastic and glass bottles in the recycling bin and throw the cap, regardless of the material, in the trash. If you’re committed to recycling, head to Aveda store which will collect your old bottle caps and make sure they are recycled.
5. Plastic utensils and cups. Think about that next time you’re at a friend’s party or cookout and make an effort to reuse your red Solo cup.