We recycled, now what?

Do you ever question whether or not the items taken to the recycling locations are actually being recycled. Here is something that needs to be known. If a recyclable container has any food residue on it or in it – It will not be recycled, it will be discarded and taken to the landfill.

Maui County Residential Recycling Center Guidelines – What is accepted.

1. PLASTIC CONTAINERS – Plastic #1 and #2 only.
-NO Food residue
-NO Toys
-NO Styrofoam
-NO plastic Bags

Plastic #1 Polyethylene terephthalate aka PETE or PET. This is what the majority of disposable beverage and food containers are made from, it is somewhat porous and will take on odors or flavors, making it not an ideal container to be reused. When this type of plastic is heated it can cause carcinogens to leach into your liquids. So don’t leave your water bottles in the car on a warm day.

Plastic #2 High Density polyethylene aka HDPE. This is what many milk jugs, detergent bottles and butter tubs are made from. Their color is opaque and it is said that this type of plastic is less likely to leach chemicals into contents that #1 plastic.

Containers of all sizes
Rinse clean, discard lids, labels are ok.
-NO Food residue
-NO Pyrex
-NO Window Glass

Beverage and Food Cans
Rinse clean, discard lids, labels are ok.
-NO Food residue
-NO Aerosol Cans or paint cans

All newspapers including inserts
-NO Plastic Bags

Corrugated boxes, boxboard
Cardboard Rolls and cartons
All colors and sizes
Break down and flatten all boxes
Remove any plastic or foam liners
-NO Food residue

For locations and more information about Maui County Recycling CLICK HERE to visit the Maui County website.

Wash Out Containers before recycling – You may ask, why do I have to do this? It is my understanding that there are people that in a few weeks or months will be handling our recyclables. This is already not a very glamorous job, we are so thankful for these people and their contribution to saving our planet. Washing our recyclables is the least we can do to make it so their job does not stink so bad.

I know, I know, this is an extra chore and we are already so busy! Yes, it is a hassle to wash that last bit of peanut butter or mayo out of a jar? I get it, there are better ways to spend your time. Here is how I finally figured out how to make this chore a bit easier. I don’t know why it took me so long to figure out this time saving little trick but I am glad I did and I hope it helps you too.

-Put a little soap in the jar, a couple of drops will do, no need to waste soap, now top it off with water, close the lid, and give it a little shake.
-Leave it for a few hours, go to the beach, read the Conscious Maui blogs, play in the garden or create something.
-When you have finished all of that go back to your soapy jar, give it a few shakes with the lid on tightly.
-Then, pour the soapy water and food bits out. Follow up with a few rinses.
-Put it in the recycle bin.

Did you know??  There are at least 7 types of plastic being discarded on MAUI and we only recycle 2 of the 7 types of plastic,  #1 and #2 plastic that’s it! Where does all of the other stuff end up? In the landfill? Does it get shipped off island to be processed elsewhere, the shipping industry is not kind to the environment so I don’t feel too good about this possibility… Does it end up in our ocean? I can’t say for sure but it is likely that some goes here and some goes there and we can/must do better than that.

Plastic is designed to last… Forever. Why would we buy something that lasts forever to use it only one time and then throw it away. When something is thrown away it is still very much HERE. There is no “away.”  Plastic does not poof in and out of existence. It is here to stay. So it’s not piled up in our living room or is it. When plastic ends up in the landfill or ocean it begins to slowly break down and those poisonous toxic plastic chemicals end up in our water supply. It is very difficult to avoid plastic but it is not impossible. If unable to rid plastic from our lives we can at least cut back, way back.

Working together to use less and to reuse what we have makes such a positive impact on our island. It is up to us to ensure our beautiful paradise home stays safe and healthy not just for generations to come but for today and all of time. Our island and our Earth deserve our love and respect. We must realize that we are connected to this planet and what we do to her we do to ourselves.