Learn what can be recycled

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Illustration by Alexandra Nelipa

Illustration by Alexandra Nelipa

By Adriana Ruiz

aruiz168@student.alamo.edu 

In the U.S., 100 million trees a year are cut down to make paper, about 15 million sheets of paper are used every five minutes, and about 2 million plastic bottles are emptied every five minutes, sarecycles.org reports.

Recycling is important because it will help ensure environmental sustainability for the future, Tiffany Edmonds, public relations manager for the city’s Solid Waste Management, said.

Illustration by Alexandra Nelipa

Illustration by Alexandra Nelipa

Edmonds said recycling at school can be easy and students should remember not to automatically look for a trash can. Instead take a few extra steps to recycle. “Paper from leftover tests and assignments can be recycled instead of throwing them away,” Edmonds said.

Some items that she said everyone should recycle are paper towel and toilet paper cores. Styrofoam meat trays can be recycled, but be careful because meat trays must be rinsed and dried before they can be placed in the recycling bin. Edmonds mentioned the plastic wrapping around meat trays is not recyclable, but starting Aug. 1, the city will be changing recycling processes and plastic bags and film will be allowed.

For now take plastic bags to a retail shop to reuse. Collecting retailers include H-E-B, Target, Walgreens, J.C.Penney and Walmart, according to changeisinthebag.org.

Edmonds said, “Stuff them and then stuff another 20 to 30 bags inside to make it fat and big. They would have to be completely clean with no leftover receipts and dry.”

The website explains, “Recycling plastic bags and wraps provide raw material for making durable backyard decks, building and construction products and new plastic bags.”

In 2007, San Francisco became the first U.S. city to ban plastic bags at grocery stores; other cities have adopted similar bans.

City Council will discuss one April 16 for San Antonio.

Edmonds said to ensure all items placed in recycling bins are dry because the processing machine is sensitive and may reject wet or foreign items. Cardboard is allowed but only if it is clean. “You shouldn’t recycle pizza boxes. You should tear off the clean part and you can recycle that part of the box,” Edmonds said.

People shouldn’t think recycling is hard, but instead should start off with paper, plastic and aluminum.

“Start with the easy stuff that you always know, and as you become more comfortable, add more things,” she said.

Edmonds recommended the MyWaste app, available for iPhone and Android devices, which answers recycling questions.

For more information, visit sarecycles.org.

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