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Today, we are more aware of the importance of taking care of our environment and most of us try to recycle to avoid contamination. Sometimes recycling is a complicated task because we do not know very well what the objects we use daily are made of and therefore we do not know how to dispose of them properly. Have you ever wondered where you should throw your toothbrush or a bad light bulb? In this new post from EcologiaVerde we are going to talk to you about the most common mistakes in recycling so that next time you don’t make a mistake when recycling.

You may also be interested in: The 4Rs of recycling
  1. Most common mistakes when using the blue container
  2. Common mistakes when recycling in the yellow bin
  3. Recycling errors in the green bin
  4. What to throw in the clean points and how to avoid mistakes when using them

Most common mistakes when using the blue container

Our basic knowledge about recycling tells us that the blue container is the one where we have to throw paper and cardboard, now, can we throw any paper into this container? How well can you imagine the answer is no. To avoid one of the most common mistakes in recycling, we must throw all those cardboard or paper containers that can be recycled into the blue container, that is, give them a new use.

Let’s see some examples of what not to throw in the blue container :

  • Used kitchen paper or napkins should not be thrown into the blue bin as they are not suitable for recycling. It must be thrown into the organic waste container.
  • The corks of the bottles, although we could suppose that they come from vegetable matter such as paper and cardboard (although some are made of plastic), they should not go in this container, but in the gray container, the waste container, or the brown one. , that of organic matter.
  • The milk or juice cartons, although they have a cardboard part which can lead us to confusion, they must also go in the yellow container and not in the blue one.

Here you can learn more about what is recycled in the blue container .

Common mistakes when recycling in the yellow bin

We all know that the yellow container is the container where plastics must be disposed of, but what we do not all know, and that leads us to make recycling mistakes, is that not all plastics can be recycled . The confusion is given by the popular use of the term plastic container, but in reality it is the container of plastic containers. This already gives us a clue about what we should and should not deposit. Everything that is not container, even if it is made of plastic, should not go in this container.

The explanation is based on the fact that many types of plastics have appeared in recent years, but many of them do not have a simple recycling process and therefore cannot be reused. We will briefly explain the different types of plastics :

  1. PET: Polystyrene Terephthalate: Found in plastic bottles.
  2. PE-HD: High density polyethylene. It appears in packaging of juices, dairy products, hair and body products, perfumes, detergents and fabric softeners, etc.
  3. PVC: Polyvinyl chloride. Used for merchandise packaging, pipes, insulation and vinyl records.
  4. LDPE: Low density polyethylene. Used in the manufacture of food bags, squeeze bottles (sauces), garbage bags and flexible lids.
  5. PP: Polypropylene. It is found mainly in plastics from the automotive and construction industries such as battery cases, laboratory equipment or CD covers.
  6. PS: Polystyrene. Used in single-use plates, glasses and cutlery.
  7. O: Others. They have mixtures of different plastics.

Once we know the types of plastics that exist, we must know that only the first 6 types of plastics are recyclable and, therefore, we can dispose of them in the yellow container. To facilitate recycling, they should not be contaminated with other products or have other substances integrated into their composition such as some pigments.

As we have said, the yellow container is not the container for plastics, but rather the container for containers , that means that there are more materials that we must deposit in these spaces. We are going to see some examples of plastics that are recycled and those that are not so as not to make future recycling mistakes.

Waste that DOES go in the yellow container

  • Bricks: Although bricks are made up of more materials such as cardboard and aluminum, these are separated in recycling plants and can be given a new use.
  • Wooden boxes: They are not plastic, but they are containers, therefore they must go in the yellow container and not in the blue one or in the organic waste one.
  • Bottle corks: Only those that are synthetic should be introduced. Corks of natural origin must go in the organic container.
  • Cans and container lids: Cans and lids are not plastic, but must be placed in the yellow container. The factory operators are responsible for separating them from the rest of the waste in order to give them a new use.
  • Metal containers: such as metal boxes (cookies) and metal cans (whipped cream).
  • Cling film and aluminum foil: Both can be separated and re-produced.
  • Plastics classified from 1 to 6 .

Waste that does NOT go in the yellow container

  • Diapers and feminine hygiene products: Although many of them contain plastics, even clean ones, they cannot be recycled due to the mixtures they have. Of course, it is not necessary to deposit them under any circumstances in the yellow container as they are usually contaminated with biological waste, therefore, their place is the rejection container or remains, which is usually gray.
  • Toothbrushes: As in the previous case, they should not be deposited in the yellow container, always in the rejection container.
  • Toys and cubes: It is always preferable to reuse these objects before throwing them away. It costs nothing to be in solidarity and there are also numerous NGOs that will be able to get you a new destination. If you still want to get rid of them, put them in the reject waste container.
  • Coffee capsules: Under no circumstances in the yellow container. They must be taken to the clean room or can be reused, such as to make home decorations or jewelry.
  • Plasticized butcher or fishmonger paper: as they are special papers treated with wax and can contain organic remains, they must go to the rejection waste container, since they cannot go to any other.
  • Household items: Such as spatulas or plastic tongs. They should be taken to the clean point or to the rejection or gray container.

Expand this information with this other AgroCorrn article on What is recycled in the yellow container?

Recycling errors in the green bin

A very common mistake is to mistake crystal for glass . The difference between crystal and glass is in the composition of both materials; While glass is composed of sands, sodium carbonate and limestone, glass contains lead oxides, so the melting temperatures of both materials are different and therefore have to be separated. For this reason, only glass containers should be disposed of in the green container . There is no room for ceramic, porcelain or clay objects. These have to be disposed of at clean points or in the rejection or scrap waste container.

Waste that is deposited in the green container

  • Glass bottles.
  • Food jars.
  • Perfume and cologne bottles.
  • Bottles of other cosmetic products.

Remember that the caps and plugs must be placed in the yellow container.

They should NOT be deposited in the green container

  • Light bulbs: neither socket, nor fluorescent, nor low consumption. They should be deposited in the rejection waste container, the gray or dark green one depending on the place, although it would be better to deposit them in a clean place, as they may contain toxic substances for the environment.
  • Mirrors and broken glass: as long as they do not pose a safety hazard, they must be deposited in the reject container.
  • Crockery scraps: also in the gray or reject waste container.

We recommend this other post where you can learn more about glass and crystal recycling by learning what is the difference between glass and crystal .

What to throw in the clean points and how to avoid mistakes when using them

Finally, we will insist on the existence of the clean points . Clean points are facilities where waste that is difficult to recycle or that can be dangerous for the environment is collected and stored . They are found in most municipalities.

If we hesitate to get rid of a product, the best we can do is deposit it in one of these spaces. The waste that we do not recycle in the blue, yellow or green containers usually ends up in landfills or incinerators and there are certain products that can be very harmful to the environment so the best place to dispose of them is the clean points.

Some examples of waste going to the clean points are:

  • Home appliances and other gadgets.
  • Printer cartridges and dyes.
  • Oils (kitchen, motors, etc.) and lubricants.
  • Chemical products.
  • Medicines (also at SIGRE points of pharmacies).
  • Rubble and scrap metal.
  • Batteries
  • Vegetable remains (pruning).
  • Tires

In addition, in many cities and municipalities, municipalities make available to citizens collection services for furniture and other large objects (refrigerators, washing machines, etc.) that are responsible for moving them to clean points where they will be disposed of properly. It costs nothing to make a phone call and request the service instead of leaving them stranded on the street where they bother, they can harm the environment and normal urban garbage collection services cannot take care of them.

Here below we leave you a summary video on this interesting topic.

If you want to read more articles similar to the most common mistakes in recycling , we recommend that you enter our Recycling and waste management category .

Maria Anderson

Hello, I am a blogger specialized in environmental, health and scientific dissemination issues in general. The best way to define myself as a blogger is by reading my texts, so I encourage you to do so. Above all, if you are interested in staying up to date and reflecting on these issues, both on a practical and informative level.

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