Top 10 In The Bin
If you have ever caught yourself asking "can I recycle this?" -you're not alone. New technologies in recycling allow for more materials to go into the recycling bin, but it also makes recycling a little confusing. To help answer the question- "can I recycle this?"- three national organizations teamed up to unify and simplify the recycling message by creating the program "Top 10 in the Bin." These organizations include Keep America Beautiful, the National Waste and Recycling Association, and the Solid Waste Association of North America. To see a more detailed recycling list that is specific to your hauler in Dakota County, visit our curbside recycling guide here.
To download the Top 10 In The Bin poster for free visit americarecyclesday.org
What is Organics Recycling?
You may have seen new bins around your community featuring signs that say "organics only," but what does that mean? Organics recycling is the recycling of organic material- anything that was once alive- into compost, a special soil amendment. Composting happens naturally and requires very little energy input. Organics recycling plays a key role in keeping valuable materials out of landfills and doing it correctly will help Minnesota reach its 75% recycling goal.
What can go in the organics bin?
About 30% of what we usually throw away is actually organics including food scraps and food-soiled paper products.
See a detailed list of acceptable and unacceptable items.
I backyard compost- is this different?
The organics recycling you see in your community is different than backyard composting because the organics are brought to a specialized recycling facility. This facility will line up the organics in windrows which creates more heat than you would find in your backyard. Because of this, things such as bones, meat, and paper-products can go in these bins.
Is composting the best solution to our waste problem?
First and foremost, waste should always be reduced. If that is not possible, reusing is the next best thing. Only if we cannot reduce and reuse should we recycle or compost. Of course if the item is not recyclable or compostable such as but not limited to chip bags, Styrofoam©, and/or pet waste, then it must go in the trash. Reducing is especially important when it comes to buying food. Currently, in the United States, we are wasting as much as 40% of all of our food. Although composting is a great solution to preventing food scraps from entering the landfill, it is not the best solution to the food waste problem. For tips and tricks to reduce your food waste visit our Reduce Your Wasted Food Guide here.
How does it work?
Composting is a natural process. Follow the arrows below to see what happens to items you put in the organics bin!
What to do with cartons?
You may know to recycle common household materials such as glass, aluminum cans, paper and plastic, but do you know what to do with cartons?
Cartons are type of packaging for food and beverage products you can purchase at the store. They are easy to recognize, but they are causing some confusion among consumers when it comes to proper disposal.
Are Cartons Recyclable?
Yes! Cartons are mostly composed of extremely valuable paper fiber, along with thin layers of polyethylene (plastic) and, in some cases, aluminum.
Where Can I Recycle My Cartons?
Carton recycling depends on the haulers in your community. In Apple Valley, Burnsville, Eagan, and Lakeville all haulers accept cartons in the curbside recycling bins. To learn if other communities accept cartons for recycling, please visit www.RecycleCartons.com.
When is Composting Better Than Recycling?
As more and more people turn to composting as a way to reduce their environmental impact, we are faced with a dilemma: is composting always better when it comes to paper? You may have heard that paper can only be recycled between five and seven times so it's easy to assume composting is a good alternative to recycling when the fibers are getting shorter. However, it's a little more complicated than that. By keeping paper out of the recycling bin, we are increasing the demand on trees, water and energy required to make virgin paper. So, to help break it down we have put together a list of the most confusing paper items to tell you whether composting or recycling is a better alternative.
Office paper should always go in the recycling bin if clean. This paper is a high grade paper that would become a better resource if recycled versus composted. By recycling this paper, we are reducing the amount of natural resources used while getting a new paper resource that requires less energy to make. The exception to this is if the paper has become soiled or wet for any reason. In this case, composting would be a better alternative.