Think you know a lot about recycling? What if everything you know isn’t true? Many people are misinformed about why and how we recycle, so check your knowledge by learning the truth behind these common recycling myths:
Myth: You don’t have to recycle biodegradable items.
One popular misconception is that you don’t need to recycle biodegradable items because they will eventually break down on their own in the landfill. Is there any truth behind this myth? No! To decompose, biodegradable items need to be exposed to oxygen, but this is difficult when they are thrown into a huge landfill. Instead of decomposing in landfills, biodegradable items will break down into methane, which is then released as a hazardous greenhouse gas. You may think you’re disposing of biodegradable items appropriately, but the truth is, you’re contributing to the increase of greenhouse gases if you don’t recycle or compost biodegradables.
Myth: We’ll never run out of landfill space.
People who choose not to recycle often say there’s no point because there’s plenty of landfill space to go around, but this is not true. There is a limited amount of space on the planet, and a very, very small portion of this space is allocated to landfills. Anyone who believes there is an infinite amount of landfill space has clearly fallen for this recycling myth.
Myth: Recycling bins are unattractive and won’t fit in with the rest of your home’s décor.
Although many recycling bins are green or blue, the truth is they actually come in a wide variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. If you think the standard green or blue bins are unsightly, don’t give up on recycling—just find one that appeals to you.
Myth: You don’t have to recycle because someone will separate recyclables from non-recyclables at the landfill.
Some people are under the impression that they don’t need to separate their trash because someone at the landfill will eventually sort through garbage to pull out recyclables. Once you put your garbage at the curb, no one else is sorting through it to separate your recyclables, so there is absolutely no truth to this myth. It’s up to you to remove recyclables and dispose of them properly. If you don’t complete this task, it simply won’t be done.
Myth: Plastic caps are not recyclable.
Plastic caps are usually made from plastic #5, while plastic bottles typically consist of plastic #2. Because the two items are made from different types of plastic, they need to be processed differently in order to be properly recycled. However, advancements in modern technology have made it possible for you to recycle the cap and bottle together without having to remove the cap first. To play it safe, check with your city’s recycling department to see if this is the case for your area or if you still need to separate the two before tossing them.
Remember, you should never believe something until you take the time to do the research yourself. Now that you know the truth behind these common myths, get out there and start to reduce, reuse, and recycle!