Go the Extra Mile to Recycle Smart This Spring

Happy Marathon Monday Recycling Smart Partners!

Whether you’re running in this year’s marathon or cheering from the sidelines, the annual Boston Marathon signals the unofficial start of the spring season.

While runners race to the finish today, encourage others to take an extra 26.2 seconds to Recycle Smart, helping to ensure their recyclables will go the extra mile to be turned into new products.

Spring Cleaning

As people get ready to begin their spring cleaning, now’s the perfect time to remind folks to Recycle Smart by providing clear, actionable messages. With the rise in popularity of “let it go” tidying methods such as Marie Kondo’s KonMari Method, we’re bound to see an increase in people getting rid of unwanted items more than usual.

Spread the Recycle Smart message this spring by sharing the top five materials that are harmful to the recycling process, and where these items should go instead of the recycling bin:

  1. Plastic Bags
    • Why: Plastic bags get caught in the machinery at the recycling facility. Learn more in this video: https://vimeo.com/290345600
    • Solution: Opt for reusable bags when you go to the store and return your plastic bags to retail store collection bins. Find a store collection location near you here: https://www.plasticfilmrecycling.org/ 
  2. Recyclables in Plastic Bags
    • Why: All your hard efforts to recycle go to waste once they are put in a bag. At the recycling facility, bagged recyclables are thrown away.  It’s dangerous and time-consuming for workers to open and empty them.
    • Solution: Do not bag your recyclables, make sure they’re empty and clean in the bin. 
  3. Food and Liquid
    • Why: It contaminates other good recyclables such as cardboard and paper.
    • Solution: Compost or throw your food in the trash, and be sure to rinse all recyclable containers. 
  4. Textiles/Clothing
    • Why: Like plastic bags – textiles get caught in the machinery at the recycling facility.
    • Solution: Donate your unwanted clothes and linens. Learn more here: https://recyclesearch.com/profile/ma 
  5. Tanglers
    • Why: Items like garden hoses, headphones, and similar items get wrapped around machinery and slow down the recycling process while they are removed.
    • Solution: Donate unwanted items in good condition, or check here for e-waste recycling drop-off locations: https://recyclesearch.com/profile/ma

Giving people a reason why they can or cannot recycle an item, as well as a solution if they can’t, helps create a sense of community engagement and improves understanding of the recycling process. 

Frequently asked Question: Can I Recycle My Flower Pots?

A common inquiry we’ve received on the Recycle Smart social channels recently is about recycling flower pots. With spring here, more people will be out in their gardens planting flowers or sending out plants for Mother’s Day. Share this Facebook social post on your platform to help spread the word as to why flower pots do not belong in the recycling bin:

“People cannot change their habits without first changing their way of thinking,” says renowned organizing consultant Marie Kondo. The same goes for recycling! As you’re letting go of things that no longer spark joy this spring, take a minute to check our Recyclopedia. Plastic flower pots, for example, do not belong in the recycling bin. They are made from a variety of materials that makes them hard to sort. Instead, try donating them to a local nursery or re-purposing them! Check out www.RecycleSmartMA.com for more information of how to recycle smart this spring cleaning season, and then get outside and smell the flowers.

Social posts like these are a big driver in getting people to check out the Recycle Smart website. For example, social media was the third highest factor in March that drove people to the Recycle Smart website, with over 1,000 users coming to the site directly from social. Help leverage the power of digital word-of-mouth by sharing this tip on social. 

Partner Spotlight: Nauset Disposal

Nauset Disposal is a trash and recycling hauler that services the Cape Cod region. This superstar partner created a page on their website dedicated to Recycle Smart that includes the Recyclopedia as well as this “Nauset Disposal Recycling Best Practices” document – a customized version of the Smart Recycling Guide! Interested in adapting the Smart Recycling Guide with your organization’s branding and contact information? You can access the customizable design files here.

Remember – Recycling isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon, so let’s continue to go the extra mile to Recycle Smart together this spring.

The Recycle Smart Team at MassDEP