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Westfield Recycling 101

     The other day my daughter and I could not agree on whether to leave the lid on or off the milk container after we had rinsed it and placed it into the recycling bin.  Lid or no lid?  I decided to ask Ray’s recycling service which picks up curbside recycling in Westfield.  There is much confusion about what can and cannot be recycled.  This is what I learned from Ray’s website and after asking them some questions.

     First off, we should all strive to reduce and reuse before tossing or recycling.  For example, avoid plastic grocery bags by bringing your own reusable bags to the store.  If you end up with a few plastic bags, reuse them and then finally recycle them at the grocery store (Kroger has a place to do this).  Do not place the plastic bags in your home recycle bin.  Carry reusable water bottles and coffee mugs instead of disposable.  Ray’s suggests using cloth napkins instead of paper since paper napkins and paper towels are not recyclable.  Keep in mind that many plastics are not recycled anymore even though they have the recycling logo on them.  China used to take our waste plastics and recycle them but they have stopped doing this.

   Even trying to reduce and reuse we still end up with some things that we need to decide to trash or recycle.  First, I will list the things that you CANNOT put in your curbside recycling:  Styrofoam, plastic bags, microwaveable plastic trays, plastic carryout dome lids, wax paper, food soiled paper, plastic flower pots (you can take those to Lowes for recycling), no lightbulbs, ceramics or window glass. 

  What can you recycle?  Glass bottles and jars that have food residue washed out.  You do not have to remove labels.   Empty food and beverage aluminum and steel cans are acceptable. You may recycle all of a newspaper including inserts and clean neatly bundled cardboard.  Plastic containers marked 1-7 are acceptable, however remember that plastic bags are not acceptable even though they often have the recycle symbol on them.  You must return the plastic bag to the grocery store for recycling.   Rinsed milk cartons, soup cartons etc. are also acceptable.  Pizza boxes are ok to recycle if they are mostly clean.  They should not have a large amount of sauce or other spills.   Toss the piece of paper that lines the pizza box in the trash and then recycle the box. Clean and dry aluminum foil and pie plates are also ok. So, what about the lids?  Ray’s says you can leave the lids on empty jars, bottles and containers when recycling. 

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