Trash or Recycling? Why Plastic Keeps Us Guessing. – The New York Times

“The universal symbol for recycling, known as the “chasing arrows” logo, is stamped on so many things. But that doesn’t mean they’re recyclable.

Manufacturers can print the logo on just about any product. That’s because its main purpose isn’t to say whether it’s recyclable, but to identify the type of plastic it’s made from. (For example, if there’s a “3” in the center, it’s PVC, which most curbside recycling programs don’t accept.) The logo is so widely misunderstood that last year California banned its use on things that aren’t recyclable.

There are efforts to improve the system. But first, the central question:

Why is this so hard?

The rules are confusing.

The unhelpful symbol is just one aspect of a recycling system that is far too confusing to be broadly effective. It puts the burden on individuals to decode a secret language — to figure out not only whether a thing is recyclable, but also if their local recycling program actually accepts it.”

Maggots in Your Compost? Why It’s Actually a Good Thing – Public Goods Blog

Do you suddenly see tiny flies and worms all over your compost?

grass, dirt, compost, rocks

Yes, those are maggots, but don’t freak out! Typically these wiggly creatures usually cause us to shriek or turn away in disgust. But here’s why it can be a good thing to find maggots in compost — and how to get rid of them if you decide they’re not.

Put simply, maggots are able to break down food waste in a compost pile, making it decompose even faster. Despite the fact that you are dealing with garbage and creepy crawlers, there’s still a certain beauty to composting.

Let’s explore why legless larvae tend to show up in your compost bin, and why you might want to overcome your fears and keep them around.

Source: Maggots in Your Compost? Why It’s Actually a Good Thing – Public Goods Blog

Opinion | The Great Recycling Con – The New York Times

“In the Video Op-Ed above, we debunk a recycling myth that has lulled us into guilt-free consumption for decades.

This holiday season, the United States Postal Service expects to ship almost one billion packages — cardboard boxes full of electronics and fabric and plastic galore. And the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that Americans generate 25 percent more waste in the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s than during the rest of the year, an additional one million tons per week.

But hey, most of it is recyclable, right?

Well, not really.”

Beverage Companies Embrace Recycling Until It Costs Them – By Michael Corkery – The New York Times

They have pledged to help fix U.S. recycling, but for decades the companies have fought against “bottle bills,” which result in more bottles and cans being recycled but are costly for the industry.

“Recycling is struggling in much of the United States, and companies like Coca-Cola say they are committed to fixing it.

The beverage industry helps pay for pizza parties celebrating top elementary school recyclers and lends money to companies that process used plastic. Coca-Cola and Pepsi, along with Dow, the plastics producer, support nonprofit groups like Keep America Beautiful, which organize events like litter cleanups. A recent videofunded partly by Keep America Beautiful featured models dancing through a recycling facility in Brooklyn, which one advertising writer said makes “recycling sexy.” By 2030, Coca-Cola wants all of its packaging to be made from at least 50 percent recycled content.

But one approach to recycling that many of these companies do not support has proved to actually work: container deposit laws, more commonly known as bottle bills, which cost them lots of money.

In the 10 states where consumers can collect a few cents when they return an empty bottle or can, recycling rates for those containers are often significantly higher. In some cases, they are more than twice as high as in states without such deposits.”

Single Stream Recycling Services, Recycling Companies, Waste Recycling, Recycling Pickup Services, Curbside Recycling | Windsor Sanitation – Windsor, Connecticut

Single Stream Recycling Services
Windsor Sanitation stands out amongst other recycling companies by now offering single stream recycling services as well as hand sorted pickup. Single stream recycling allows customers to place all recyclables, unsorted, into one cart, which is picked up in the same fashion as our automated trash carts. Place BLUE recycling carts at the curbside by 7 a.m. on scheduled collection day.

Click here to view our residential recycling services calendar.

Please consult the recycling guidelines below to comply with State Recycling Regulations. For the most up-to-date recycling guidelines followed by the public and recycling companies, please visit

What CAN Be Recycled Through the New Single Stream Recycling System
Paper – including:
Advertisement flyers
Junk mail
Cardboard – including:
Cereal boxes
Food & Beverage Containers – including:
Glass bottles
Plastic bottles (PETE & HDPE only)
Tin cans (not aerosol cans)
Aluminum cans
Aluminum food trays
Place all acceptable recycling material in the new BLUE cart as you generate it. The new system allows material to be mixed together
All material must be inside the cart – no bundles or bags on the ground
Cut large pieces to fit into the Single Stream Cart
Rinse dirty material of contaminants
Labels and neck rings DON’T have to be removed
DON’T break bottles
Plastic bottles CAN be clear or colored and include detergent bottles, bleach bottles, shampoo bottles and other similar items
NOTE: Bottles must be completely empty
What CANNOT Be Recycled in the New Single Stream Recycling System

Dirty or contaminated newspaper
Dirty or contaminated (food waste, etc.) papers, paper towels, paper plates, etc.
Dirty or contaminated cardboard (pizza boxes, etc.)
Wax or plastic coated cardboard
Automotive fluid (oil, antifreeze, etc.)
Aerosol (spray) cans
Food & Beverage containers not made of glass, tin, aluminum or plastic that is not PETE & HDPE varieties
Other glass items (light bulbs, window glass, dishes, etc.)
Other plastic items (toys, etc.)
Other metal items (pots, pans, coat hangers, toasters, etc.)
Ceramic items (bottles, dishes, flower pots, etc.)

Source: Single Stream Recycling Services, Recycling Companies, Waste Recycling, Recycling Pickup Services, Curbside Recycling | Windsor Sanitation – Windsor, Connecticut

6 Things You’re Recycling Wrong – The New York Times

We have all done it: a greasy pizza box, a disposable coffee cup, the odd plastic bag. Sometimes, we want things to be recyclable, so we put them in the recycling bin.

Waste managers often call this wishful or aspirational recycling. But, unfortunately, putting these objects in with the rest of the recycling can do more harm than good. While rules differ in every municipality (check your local recycling website to find out what’s acceptable), we have picked out some key offenders to keep in mind.

Too many of these items will contaminate a batch of recycling. That means waste managers might not be able to find buyers for the materials — especially now that China, one of the world’s main importers of recyclable waste, has said it will reject shipments that are more than 0.5 percent impure. Contaminated loads could be sent to the landfill instead.

via 6 Things You’re Recycling Wrong – The New York Times

Your Recycling Gets Recycled- Right? Maybe- or Maybe Not – The New York Times

By Livia Albeck-Ripka
May 29, 2018

Oregon is serious about recycling. Its residents are accustomed to dutifully separating milk cartons, yogurt containers, cereal boxes and kombucha bottles from their trash to divert them from the landfill. But this year, because of a far-reaching rule change in China, some of the recyclables are ending up in the local dump anyway.

In recent months, in fact, thousands of tons of material left curbside for recycling in dozens of American cities and towns — including several in Oregon — have gone to landfills.

via Your Recycling Gets Recycled, Right? Maybe, or Maybe Not – The New York Times

Household Metal – What Can Go in the Recycling Bin & What Can’t | Greenopedia

No, Throw It In The Trash
Metallic chip bags & candy wrappers that pop back to their original shape when you crumple it. (The aluminum is fused with plastic, which cannot easily be separated for recycling.)
Aluminum-lined boxes that hold soymilk, soups, etc. (** Some recycling facilities can handle these — call to be sure.)
Capri Sun packs and smoothie squeeze pouches
Dirty paint cans
Aerosol cans with liquid still inside
Metal syringes & razor blades (Here’s how to properly dispose of razors to avoid harming sanitation workers)
Nails, screws, washers
Mirrors (donate if in good shape)
Kitchen Utensils (donate if in good shape)

via Household Metal – What Can Go in the Recycling Bin & What Can’t | Greenopedia