TSARC Recycling Tips

Logo for the Transfer Station and Recycling Committee

Each week a Recycling Tip is published in the Hometown Weekly. This page is a compilation of those tips.

TIP 49


Pets can be wonderful - the furry, lovable ones. Pet Peeves - you know those annoying little things that just drive you crazy - are a totally different story!


Here are a few TSARC committee members' pet recycling peeves:  

  • Plastic water bottles thrown in the trash when a recycling bin is right next to the garbage can
  • Putting bubble wrap or foam in the Recycling Compactor. (Bubble wrap can be recycled but with plastic bags; foam belongs in the trash unless there is a special collection.)
  • Leaving plastic outer wrap (you know the kind that holds bottles and other items) on cardboard boxes when you recycle them. Outer wrap can be recycled - but not with cardboard, with plastic bags.
  • Paper coffee cups and lids in the Recycling Compactor - they're not recyclable.

Keep in mind, we're sharing these all in the name of encouraging each one of us to be more earth conscious! . . . Stay tuned for Part 2. 


Each little earth-friendly action you take (no matter how small) shows respect for the planet and can also positively influence others.  


One easy way to help is to learn what can and cannot be recycled in your community.   



TIP 48


It is estimated that a standard pine tree will produce around 10,000 sheets of paper. To consider this in another way, one ream of paper (which is 500 sheets) will use 5% of a tree.


Looking for a simple thing you can do for the environment that can have a significant impact?


Print documents using both sides of the paper.


Of course, there will be some documents that you'll want single-sided but for all the others, try to use both sides. You may even cut your paper budget in half!


Another tip: save printed single-copy pages in a container next to your printer. You'll have quick access to these sheets, making it even easier to reduce your paper usage. And, if you own a business, why not challenge your employees to see how much paper they can save.


If you save 20 reams of paper over the course of the year, you can proudly say that you saved a tree!  


The environment - and your wallet - will thank you.



TIP 47


Wait just a minute! Are you sure all those items go in the Transfer Station recycling compactors?! 


It's easy to get confused.


Before you toss your recyclables in the compactors, take a minute to review the sign of acceptable items. It's right there - on the side of the compactors - and it might save you from tossing in foam, bubble wrap and other unacceptable materials.


Remember, each little earth-friendly action you take (no matter how small) shows respect for the planet and can also positively influence others.  


One easy way to help is to learn what can and cannot be recycled in your community.


TIP 46


Plastic Bag Recycling is Back at the Transfer Station!


But NOT in your recycling bin.


Recycle your bags and other plastic films at the Transfer Station in the specially designated spot near the recycling compactors.   


Bags should be clean and dry; all sticker labels should be removed and all receipts tossed out before you put them in the drop-off bin.


Here's what's you can recycle:

Retail, carryout, produce, newspaper, bread, and dry-cleaning bags 

Zip-top food storage bags 

Plastic shipping envelopes, bubble wrap and air pillows (deflate)

Product wrap on cases of water/soda bottles, paper towels, napkins, disposable cups, bathroom tissue, diapers, and female sanitary products

Furniture and electronic wrap

Please toss these plastics in the trash:

Pre-washed salad mix bags

Frozen food bags

Candy bar wrappers

Chip bags

Six-pack rings

Not sure? go to recyclesmartma.org

And, now that you don't need to make a separate trip to the grocery store to recycle your plastic bags, with your time savings, check out plasticfreejuly.org

Across the globe, hundreds of millions of people are taking part in Plastic Free July. Together, they're working towards a world without plastic waste by choosing to refuse everyday plastic items, 




TIP 45


Did you hear about the tanning Olympics? Everybody tried to get a bronze!


Summer is sunscreen time. Lots of sunscreen also means a lot of empty containers. How to dispose of them?  


Here's a quick rundown . . .

Sunblock spray cans (aerosols) belong in the TRASH.

Sunscreen flexible plastic tubes belong in the TRASH.

Suntan lotion bottles (empty and rinsed) can be RECYCLED

Each little earth-friendly action you take (no matter how small) shows respect for the planet and can also positively influence others.  


One easy way to help is to learn what can and cannot be recycled in your community.  

TIP 44

When your worn-out athletic shoes can't handle another mile, trip up the court, or cut across the field, Nike wants them back.

Nike recycles any brand of athletic sneakers, giving them a new life through Nike Grind.  Nike Grind materials are incorporated into products ranging from furniture to running tracks, to skateboards and space shuttles.

Nike makes it easy for materials to live on from one product to the next - all you need to do is drop off your used shoes at a participating Nike retail store.  For more information, visit nikegrind.com.

TIP 43

Let me introduce myself, I'm the Blue Shed at the Transfer Station.

You may have heard about me in last week's Recycling Tip.  I'm the big, burly blue Collection Bin where you bring fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). But, I also take NiCad. Lithium and Button batteries (regular alkaline batteries can go in the trash) and U.S. flags (which legally require a respectful disposal). 

You may not know me but I'm quite popular with the in-the-know crowd. You can find me to the left of the Bottles and Cans Collection Bin. I'm a similar shade of blue but much more handsome (haha)!

Don't be a stranger - come visit me often if you're getting rid of light bulbs, batteries and flags that require special disposal. 

Not sure? Check the easy-to-read Medfield Transfer Station Brochure on town.medfield.net .

TIP 42

Ever heard the expression "mad as a hatter?"

Mercury was used for over a century in the hat-making trade but it wasn't until the 1940s that the connection was made between mercury exposure and the erratic behavior and slurred speech common among hatmakers.

CFLs (compact fluorescent light bulbs) can easily break and release mercury into the air..While the small amount of mercury in a single CFL will likely not affect you in the short term, exposure to mercury over time can have serious health consequences.

It's for this reason that it's particularly important to keep mercury-containing light bulbs out of both the trash and recycling. Take these light bulbs (common CFLs include spiral, square, quadtube, globe and flood) to a collection location for safe disposal including the Blue Recycling Shed at the Transfer Station.

TIP 41

Did you hear about Mr. Cup? His wife left him. Now he's now a Solo Cup!

It's the time of year for graduations, weddings, sports playoffs, barbecues and a whole lot of outdoor fun. Parties often come with a lot of waste including plastic waste like Solo cups.  

In Massachusetts, Solo cups cannot be recycled.  The reason we say NO to colored plastic cups like Solo cups is that they are simply not made of high-value plastic. The quality of the plastic just doesn't recycle well.

So, when cleaning up after a big bash, make sure to toss those plastic Solo beverage cups in the trash - and not in the recycling bin.

But, before you head directly to the trash bin, consider this. There's now a way to make your celebrations a little bit more earth friendly. TerraCycle offers free recycling of Solo cups and other hard plastic #6 cups. And, it couldn't be easier.  

Just sign up for the free program online at TerraCycle.com, Then, collect Solo cups (other brands of #6 hard plastic cups are accepted as well), pack them in a carton, print out a free mailing label and send the box off to TerraCycle. You don't even have to rinse the cups! (Just make sure they're empty). TerraCycle takes care of the rest.

A suggestion for the environment here . . . If you know a frat or sorority member, encourage them to set up a recycling account at TerraCycle as a service project for their House. (There are often plenty of Solo cups at those parties!)

To learn more, visit Terracyle.com

Tip 40

The weather has quickly gone from March miserableness to summer-like highs, and more people are sprucing up their yards and adding new plantings.

New plants -  flowers, shrubs, bushes - come in plastic pots, which for the most part should stay OUT of recycling bins.  

The majority of these plastic containers are black in color or very dark. Recycling sorting machines cannot "recognize" these because the light from the machines doesn't penetrate the darker colors. Dark plastic plant containers belong in the trash.  

A side note, here . . . . Instead of buying new ceramic or metal pots for displaying your plants, why not stop by the Swap and see if there are any that you can reuse (the environmentally better choice).  The same holds true for gardening tools. Oh, and don't forget the "Library of Things." You can borrow more than a hundred items from the Medfield Public Library, including a soil tester, trowel, shovel, spading fork, handheld pruner and so much more!

And, by the way, the Library also has plenty of outdoor games that can be checked out, too - just in case you were looking for something fun to do after all of your hard work.

Tip 39


I want to tell a joke about fabric . . . . But I'm all out of material! 


In reality, recycling textiles is no laughing matter. . . .The textile industry is the second largest polluting industry in the world after oil and gas. And the environmental damage is increasing as the industry grows.


Plus, what happens to these products after we no longer want them is just as shocking. More than 83 percent of used textiles are disposed of in the garbage - even though the majority can be donated for reuse or recycling.


Drop off unwanted textiles - clothing, bedding, towels, tablecloths, and more - at a nearby clothing collection box (think Transfer Station here) or your favorite local charity or thrift store.


AND the clothing and textiles don't have to be in great condition. If they are stained, ripped, have missing buttons or broken zippers or even giant holes, they can be repurposed.  


If they are unable to be sold for reuse locally, they may be baled and sold to export markets, made into industrial wiping cloths, or converted to fiber for insulation, carpet padding for sound-proofing material.  


So, the next time you toss a shirt into the trash because it’s time for a fresh one, think again.


TIP 38


It takes a lot of work, energy and resources to make just a single aluminum can - that's why it's important to recycle.   And, turning an old can into a new one can happen pretty quickly.


According to the Can Manufacturers Institute, from the time a used aluminum can is put in a recycling bin, it typically takes about 60 days for that can to be made into a brand new one.


Stage 1: Used Can


Stage 2: Can is cleaned and melted into a solid block (called an ingot)


Stage 3: Aluminum is pressed thin and punched into circles (called "blanks")


Stage 4: "Blanks" are molded into the shape of a can. The top is made separately and attached next.


Stage 5: NEW CAN 


Aluminum cans are very recyclable - 100% of the can's materials can be reused but, remember, It all starts with YOU making the earth-friendly decision to recycle!



TIP 37


This is an eye-opening statistic. . . 

A study from Arizona State University found that about one-fifth of contact lens wearers flush used contacts down the drain or toilet. That amounts to more than 2 1/2 billion contact lenses down the drain annually.  Seem harmless? Not so much.

 Contact lenses are denser than water and sink to the bottom of waterways where they can be harmful to aquatic life. Contact lenses that end up in soil can dry out, become brittle and break down into microplastics where they can be consumed by animals, birds or insects and make their way into the food chain.

Your best bet for disposing of used contacts? Throw them in the trash. Or even better, check with your eye care provider. More and more eye care providers are offering contact lens recycling programs on their own or in conjunction with TerraCycle. They will recycle used contact lenses, foil tops and blister packs to help keep this waste out of the environment.


Tip 36

Did you know that paper and paper-based packaging make up more than two-thirds of what’s in our recycling bins? When recycling paper, be mindful of two things: moisture and size. Both can pose a problem.

When it comes to size, think bigger than a credit card - this means no shredded paper. If you've got a small post-it note, stick it to a bigger piece of paper.

 As for moisture, you really want to keep your paper dry but a few drops of water won't hurt. Leaving your recycling uncovered out in a rainstorm or snowstorm will.


TIP 35

“It’s the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary,” Brazilian author Paulo Coelho once said.  Imagine if you could do something extraordinary for your community simply by picking up one piece of litter a day.

In 2020, Medfield's population was nearly 13,000.  What if just 10% of us (1,300 people) picked up 1 piece of trash per day - and disposed of it responsibly or recycled what we could. At the end of just one week, that would be over 9,000 pieces of trash.

That is pretty powerful - thousands of pieces of less trash littering our community or waterways.

So, why not do something extraordinary today?


TIP 34


Don't let your recycling efforts stop at the bathroom. Many bathroom products can be recycled, too!

Check out the list below for ways you can further help to reduce waste and keep our planet clean.


Toilet paper rolls

Shampoo and conditioner bottles (remove pump first, empty and rinse)

Shower gel bottles (empty and rinse)

Cardboard boxes (toothpaste boxes, soap boxes, etc.)

Bathroom cleaners (remove pump first, empty and rinse)

Bleach bottles (empty and rinse)

Hand soap bottles (remove pump first, empty and rinse)

Moisturizer bottles (remove pump)

Mouthwash bottle (empty and rinse)

Box that facial tissue comes in

Bubble bath bottles (empty and rinse)

Boxes that feminine hygiene products come in

Sanitizing wipe containers (empty and rinse)



Toothpaste tubes

Toothbrushes (they’re too small)

Razors (safety hazard for workers) and handles (they’re too small)

Shampoo and conditioner tubes

Shaving cream cans

Hair spray and other aerosol bottles

Deodorant tubes

Cotton swabs and cotton pads

Most creams that come in tubes

Facial tissue

Cosmetic containers (eye shadow palettes, etc.)

Feminine hygiene products

Sanitizing wipes


Want to make recycling in the bathroom easier? Keep a recycling bin in your bathroom plus a list of what’s recyclable (and how to make it recycle-ready).

Tip 33


The Library Has One???


Want to try an Air Fryer before you purchase your own?  

The Library Has One!


Think you've found the perfect spot for your garden but want to confirm with a Soil Tester?  

The Library Has One! 


Hope to find buried treasure, become rich and retire but don't have a metal detector?  

The Library Has One!


Want to hang a picture - straight - but can't find your Stud Finder or Level?  

The Library Has One!


Have visions of becoming the next Boston area meteorologist but need a Weather Radio to sharpen your lingo?  

The Library Has One!


Have a hankering for a big bowl of homemade ice cream but don't have an ice cream maker?  

The Library Has One! 


What's better than Recycling?  

Reducing consumption and reusing items! 


The Library can help you do just that with its W-I-D-E Selection of Unusual Items - all ready to be reserved and checked out.


Simply visit http://medfieldpubliclibrary.org/ and go to the "Borrowing" tab. You can search among more than 100 unique and special items that you'd never dream a library might carry!  


TIP 32


Looking to become an A-list recycler? TerraCycle.com could be your ticket to recycling glory!  


TerraCycle offers free recycling programs funded by brands, manufacturers, and retailers around the world to help you collect and recycle your hard-to-recycle waste.


This includes products from companies like:

Dunkin Donuts


Arm & Hammer


Babybel - and many more  


Simply choose the programs you’d like to participate in; start collecting waste in your home, school, or office; download free shipping labels; and send TerraCycle your waste to be recycled.


It's simple, it's easy and it will help you reduce your impact on our planet.


For more information, visit http://terracycle.com/ 



TIP 31


It's easy to forget about recycling when you go on vacation. You're away from home and regular routines, and rules are often relaxed.


But, keep up your good recycling habits throughout vacation with these simple tips:


Bring reusable water bottles to minimize the need to purchase plastic bottles


Stock up on some basic groceries to cut down on carryout food which is often packaged in plastic or foam containers. (And, those nasty containers often come with plastic utensils, cups and straws that can't be recycled.)


If you plan on purchasing takeout food, pack your own set of reusable utensils and reusable straws if you can.


If you're renting a house or apartment, find out what day trash and recycling is picked up. And, while you're at it, find out how trash and recycling is to be sorted. Is it single-stream recycling or do you have to separate materials?


With that done. set up some bins or bags to separate your trash and recyclables at the start of the week. Taking a few minutes at the beginning will help ensure that you recycle during your trip.


You can return home feeling relaxed and rested and proud that you've done your part to reduce waste. And, Mother Nature will applaud your efforts!

Tip 30


Recycle Your Bottles Like Everyone's Watching!

That's right. One of Keep America Beautiful's newest campaigns couldn't be more relevant. Did you know:


2.5 million plastic bottles are thrown away every hour in America

Only 23% of disposable water bottles are recycled

Recycling plastic takes 88% less energy than making it from raw materials

Recycling one ton of plastic bottles saves the equivalent energy usage of a two-person household for a year.


So the next time you're tempted to toss a plastic bottle in the trash, be aware, someone might just be watching!

TIP 29


"Why did the credit card go to jail? It was guilty as charged!"


All joking aside, a credit card can be a useful tool in deciding what to recycle and what to throw out.


In the quest to be a master recycler, you may be tempted to recycle every little thing you can. But small pieces like loose bottle caps, shredded or tiny pieces of paper, and aluminum can tabs can fall through the recycling processing machines or worse, get stuck.


When in doubt, do the credit card test. If it’s bigger than a credit card, it can be thrown in the recycling bin. If it’s smaller, toss it in the trash.

TIP 28


Phew, that's a lot easier!


Recycling technology has evolved over the years and some things that were mandatory years ago are now simply optional. Like what you say?


Here's a list:


1. You do NOT have to remove tape from cardboard boxes 

before recycling.

2. You do NOT have to cut out plastic windows on envelopes before recycling.

3. You do NOT have to pull off the plastic from tissue boxes before recycling.

4. You do NOT have to remove paper labels from cans before recycling.  


There's nothing wrong with taking these steps, but they aren't necessary - what a time saver!

Tip 27


"Double double toil and trouble/Fire burn and cauldron bubble" . . . The witches of Macbeth may have been evil but bubble wrap - and so many other flexible plastics - certainly don't have to prove vile to the planet.


Bubble wrap can easily be recycled along with plastic bags at your local participating grocery store. While you're at it, bring along newspaper bags, produce bags, bread bags, zipper sandwich bags, dry cleaning bags, beverage outer wrap, paper towel and toilet paper plastic packaging, too. Generally, any plastic you can poke your finger through can be recycled at participating stores - just make sure everything is clean and dry.


TIP 26



What do aluminum foil and football have in common? That's an interesting question!


An estimated 80 million Hershey's kisses are wrapped each day, using enough aluminum foil to cover more than 50 acres. That's almost 40 football fields!


All that foil is recyclable although not many people realize it. Each little piece of foil can be saved, recycled and reused. To recycle all that foil efficiently, save the small pieces and roll them into a bigger ball before you put them in the recycling bin.

TIP 25

You can't always trust a triangle. What?!

A recycling triangle does not necessarily mean that a container can be recycled.

The recycling triangle is very misleading.  In the plastics industry, the triangle that looks like the recycling symbol is known as the "resin stamp" - it's a marking that plastics manufacturers use to show the type of plastic an object is made from.

So although this stamp is helpful in determining what kind of plastic an object is made out of, it does not accurately tell you whether something can be recycled or not.

Instead of looking for a triangle when you recycle plastics, look at the shape of items. Think bottles, jars, jugs and tubs and ignore that pesky little triangle.

TIP 24

In the New Year, keep it simple:

 Reduce your usage of items harmful to the planet (think plastic!)

Reuse what you have, don't buy new

Recycle what you can

Refuse unnecessary toss-able items, like plastic utensils, plastic straws, etc.


Rejoice in your efforts to protect Mother Earth

TIP 23

Shoppers aren't the only ones that need to power through the holidays - consider all those gifts that require batteries! . . . . So, what's an earth-conscious consumer to do when batteries run out? 

Keep these three things in mind:

1st - Batteries, whether single-use or rechargeable, should NEVER go in the recycling bin.  

2nd - Regular household batteries (AA/AAA/C/D/9 volt alkaline batteries) are SAFE to put into the trash.

3rd - Rechargeable batteries from computers, power tools and cell phones and lithium ion batteries require special handling. They should NEVER go into the trash. They can be serious fire hazards in both trash and recycling collection vehicles.

Take these batteries to a retail collection location or a municipal recycling center (such as Medfield Transfer Station's small blue shed) that accepts rechargeable batteries. There are more than 400 collection sites in Massachusetts that are free to residents.  Visit www.call2recycle.org to find drop-off sites near you.

Tip 22

With the busy-ness of the holiday season, it's easy to forget simple but important recycling lessons. Here are top recycling tips to remember when you're "wrapping up" (pun intended!) those last-minute holiday chores:

1.     Keep the planet in mind while wrapping your gifts - limit it to reusable or recyclable wrapping only.

2.     Make it easy for guests to recycle - put out the recycling bin during parties and family gatherings.

3.     Tinsel belongs on the recycling naughty list - stringy decorations create a mess inside recycling facilities. 

4.     Recycle your cardboard - you know, all of those holiday cartons that can make your living room look like a superstore warehouse. 

5.     Choose experiences over products - reduce waste and create memories. 

6.     Shop sustainably - consider brands that use environmentally sourced materials. 

7.     Bring your own shopping bag - or bring plastic bags back to the store for recycling.

8.     Recycle your old gadgets at a local electronic recycling drop-off. 

9.     Rinse your recyclables - get out the icky stuff before tossing it into your bin.

10.  Consider the recycling workers - know what can and cannot be recycled and help prevent potentially dangerous delays or shutdowns at the recycling facility. 

TIP 21

A holiday heads-up from the folks at TSARC: Most wrapping paper cannot be recycled. Shorter fibers in the wrapping paper - along with glitter, harsh dyes and other embellishments - make it a no-no for your recycling bin.

What's an earth-conscious holiday shopper to do? Consider creative alternatives to traditional wrapping paper.

Reusable gift bags and boxes are always an easy choice as is earth-friendly wrapping paper made with soy dyes.

Brown paper bags tied with twine give packages rustic farmhouse charm while newspaper print comics, and magazine pages are fun options.  

There's more . . . turn a clean foil snack bag or coffee bag inside out for a silvery wrap, reuse large envelopes, and large fabric scraps can be used again and again (think Japanese fabric wrapping technique furoshiki). 

 TIP 20

Are you looking for a way to inspire the next generation of earth advocates? Books can help us share a be-kind-to-the-earth message and are always a great gift idea for the holidays. The Transfer Station and Recycling Committee would like to share some of its best-loved titles for younger readers:

  • "Michael Recycle," by Ellie Patterson
  • "What Can You Do with an Old Red Shoe?" by Anna Alter
  • "Kids vs. Plastic: ditch the straw and find the pollution solution to bottles, bags and other single-use plastics: how you can be a waste warrior," a National Geographic book by Julie Beer
  • "Here Comes The Garbage Barge!" by Jonah Winter
  • Old Enough to Save the Planet," by Loll Kirby

You can order these earth-friendly reads at Park Street Books and most book retailers.

Tip 19


Five plastic bottles (PET) recycled provides enough fiber to create one square foot of carpet or enough fiber to fill one ski jacket.

Americans throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour.

That translates into acres of carpet to keep our toes toasty and a mountain of ski jackets to keep us warm during cold New England winters!


TIP 18



Can egg cartons be recycled? Eggs-cellent question! It all depends on the type of egg carton. Paper and plastic egg cartons can go right into the recycling bin. Foam egg cartons, however, must be thrown in the trash. So, on your next grocery shopping eggs-pedition, choose the kind-to-the-earth option. After you decide between brown eggs vs. white, medium, large or extra-large, choose paper or plastic egg cartons and scramble right past the foam ones.



TIP 17



What to recycle and what not to recycle isn't always clear. (Pun intended!). Take glass for example. Just because something is made of glass does not automatically mean that it can be recycled.

Flower vases, candle jars, mirrors and drinking glasses do not belong in your recycling bin. Why? These items can't be recycled because of additives that cause them to melt at different temperatures than beverage and food containers (like pasta jars or wine bottles). So consider reusing them or donating items in good condition that you no longer need; otherwise the trash is where they belong.


Tip 16


The saying goes, "Cats have nine lives." But what has six? Believe it or not, old boxes can enjoy a second life (and up to six lives) when you put them in the recycling bin.  Your used cardboard boxes are in high demand. So when pulling together your weekly trash and recycling, make sure those boxes get a chance to come back - rein-carton- ated!  


Tip 15


"Reduce the mess, reduce the stress!" 


A cluttered home can be a stressful home, researchers are learning. To tame the chaos in your home - and in your life - whittle away at those piles collecting dust around your home, If you don't use it, don't want it, or don't need it, get rid of it!  


Drop off those unwanted items at the Trailer at the Transfer Station or at a future Collection Day


Almost any household item is acceptable: clothing, shoes, bedding, drapes, towels, toys, games, puzzles, stuffed animals, decorations, holiday items, books, kitchenware, etc. But no electronics, mattresses or large pieces of furniture.


TIP 14



Did you pick up a few business cards while strolling the booths at Medfield Day or any other place? Good news - paper business cards can easily be recycled




TIP 13



Paperbacks are easy to recycle because they are made of 100% paper. Hardcover books are not so simple. You need to remove the binding first and then recycle the paper pages. So be a friend of the planet and take a little extra time to recycle hardcover books responsibly.  


TIP 12


Do you have a lot of metal hangers just hanging around? Metal prices have skyrocketed this year due to Covid-related shortages as well as other factors. Your neighborhood dry cleaners are feeling the impact. One way to help? Drop off your extra metal hangers. Dry cleaners can reuse them which of course is environmentally friendly. Plus, it helps lower their costs and reduces the clutter in your closet all at the same time! (Check with your favorite dry cleaner first to make sure they are accepting hangers before dropping them off.)


TIP 11


Did you make your School Year's resolution?? 

Well, it's not really a "thing" but it could be! 


Resolve to make one small change September through June

to help the planet!  


Need a suggestion? Resolve not to purchase any new plastic food storage bags during the school year. Challenging? Absolutely but it can be done and it's well worth it. The best thing you can do for the environment is to reduce usage!


So get creative before your stash of plastic bags runs out. How about saving wax paper liners from cereal boxes, crackers, granola bars, baking mixes. Start putting away plastic bags from breads, bagels, English muffins and other baked goods. You can use (and re-use) all of these to put sandwiches, snacks and fruit in.


Of course, you can put lunches in reusable plastic containers which is always a great option! But for those times that plastic containers won't be coming back home, think outside the box (or bag!). Challenge yourself and see what alternatives you can come up with. Maybe your school year resolution will become a year-round habit, one that's good for the earth - and your wallet! 



TIP 10


Nips, those tiny bottles of single-serve liquor, can be a big problem for recycling.   

The bottles are too small to be captured in the recycling sorting equipment and end up falling through the cracks. They can potentially contaminate other materials or wind up in the trash. So prevent any possible problems and throw them away. (Oh, those little bottles are a big roadside litter problem, too!  So, make sure the nips actually end up in a trash can). 




What did the Tin Man say when he got run over by a steamroller?

"Curses!  Foil again!"


But, aluminum foil is no joke. It's reusable many times over and easily recycled. During WWII, aluminum foil was so vital to the defense effort that families were encouraged to save strips of foil. In many towns, the foil balls could be exchanged for a free ticket to the movies.


Plus, according to the Aluminum Association, unlike many other materials, aluminum more than pays for its own recycling.


How should you recycle foil? Make sure it's clean and dry, then roll it into balls. This will help keep the foil separate from other materials and give it some weight.




The answers are "No," "No," and "Yes,"

Ok, but what are the questions??


Can shredded paper be recycled? What about butter boxes?  


Shredded paper is “dreaded paper” at the material recovery facility. It either ends up floating all over the place like confetti or, if it gets wet, it turns into pulp. Either way it isn’t suitable for recycling. 


Butter boxes, like freezer food boxes, have a wax coating that makes it hard to recycle the paper. They should go in the trash.


The yes? Envelopes with plastic windows can be recycled!


Tip 7


Summer means barbecues and beer - and often red Solo cups. Toss these backyard beverage staples right in the trash. Why? Colored cups are simply not made of high value plastic. So choose reusable plastic glasses instead and toast Mother Nature. You might even have a better time at the party knowing that you're helping to protect the planet.




Who knew?! Those little paper receipts that seem so harmless are actually nature's enemy. Many are coated with BPA which can't be recycled.  


So after you stock up on all those Fourth of July party supplies, make sure you throw away the store receipts along with the used paper plates and paper napkins.


Want to be kinder to the earth? Slap the burgers and dogs on reusable plastic plates and use cloth napkins. You might just impress your guests too!




Your morning bowl of cereal has a little secret to share!  


Cereal box liners make great food storage bags! Cereal bags are sturdy, can be easily cleaned, and can be reused again and again.


Use them to store fresh produce in the fridge, to separate meat patties, to freeze cookie dough, to store chips and other snacks - and much more!  


Once you've put the liners to good use, toss them in the trash. They can't be recycled but they help the environment in a much bigger way. They can reduce the number of plastic storage bags you buy.




It's easy to pop frozen food in the microwave for a quick meal or snack. It's equally easy to dispose of the frozen food boxes properly - toss them quickly in the trash.


Why? Frozen Food boxes have a thin layer of plastic sprayed onto the paper to prevent freezer burn. Recycling only works if like materials are together. So the thin "polycoat" that prevents food from spoiling also prevents the paper fiber from breaking up in the recycling process.




Yes, you can recycle wrapping paper! June is a big month for graduations, weddings and other celebrations. So, if you're a lucky gift recipient, send the outer wrapping with a few exceptions - to the recycle bin. If the wrapping paper is metallic, has glitter or velvety flocking on it, toss it in the trash.


And, if you're a gift giver, consider creative alternatives to wrapping paper. Wrap a budding journalist's gift in newspaper, consider magazine pages for a fashionista's gift, brown paper bags tied with twine give packages a rustic farmhouse charm, and comics, of course, are always a fun option - no matter what the age of the recipient!




When recycling plastic bottles and jars (and glass jars, too), please leave the lids on. Recycling is now more efficient than in the past, and lids, if removed, can head towards landfills or the ocean. So, the next time you quench your thirst with a plastic water bottle, pop the cap back on and recycle it. (Oh, and please don't flatten the plastic bottles.) And, remember, reusable water bottles are always a more environmentally friendly choice




Recycling only works when similar materials are together.


 Containers made with combined materials are trash.  So, toss those plastic-coated coffee cups, laminated paper and paper-bubble wrap envelopes right in the trash. Or better yet, drink your morning joe in a reusable coffee container, use non-laminated paper, and get those new bubble wrap envelopes that are completely made out of plastic and can be recycled.