It might be disheartening to find out that only a little over half of the people in America say they recycle regularly. Some might say it’s because we simply are not educated on the topic enough. Or we don’t have enough easily accessible ways to do so. And one of the biggest questions among workplace recyclers is whether or not combined items like binder clips are recyclable. The answer? Yes and no. Just like a lot of other products, most binder clips are made up of more than one material and require special handling. In other words, you will need to disassemble them to take them to the local recyclers. So, while technically, binder clips are not recyclable as whole pieces, if you can separate the materials, you can recycle both the metal and the plastic. Here are a few other things you should know about recycling.
Where you can recycle
Most communities have recycling centers that will take care of all your recycling needs. You might also find blue bins with the recycling symbol on them located by regular trash bins in various areas. A lot of communities have also adopted the curbside recycling where you keep the plastic bins in your home and separate the materials. These are all picked up with the trash on designated days.
What you can recycle
You can recycle many products that you may never have thought of. However, recycling centers require them to be pure materials and clean. It’s important to check with your local centers to see what materials they accept. But if there does happen to be something they don’t take, you can likely find one in a neighboring community that does. Materials that can be recycled are aluminum, tin, copper, steel, glass, plastic, and paper. Aluminum can be in the form of soda cans, disposable pans, and foil. Paper products can include the printing paper you might use when completing documents for accredited online and continuing education degree programs.
But aside from the things you can recycle at designated centers, you can also recycle other things in non-conventional ways. For instance, a lot of grocery stores that use plastic bags have bins where you can put your used ones. You can also recycle office supplies by keeping boxes for loose odds and ends and sharing or using them again.
How to recycle mixed material products
Many products can be recycled that you might have never thought of. For example, a washing machine can be taken apart and most of its components can be scrapped. This might consist of copper wiring, aluminum sides, and a tin tub. Or something like an 11×17 binder can be torn apart and you can recycle its cardboard, plastic, and metal rings separately. This would be the same thing for the binder clips. Some are made entirely of steel, so those can readily be recycled without disassembling. But others are made of plastic with steel clasps. If these can be taken apart, the metal and plastic can each be recycled.
Most recycling centers have their own sets of rules. For one thing, wet paper can’t be recycled without completely drying it out. In fact, if a recycle bin for paper gets rained on, it usually has to go to the dump. All recyclables should be clean. Don’t dump your used paper plates into the paper bin. Also, even though most paper can be recycled, some centers only take certain weights or grades. And the ones who take them all typically prefer them to be pre-sorted. Be sure to check with them first.
The benefits of recycling can’t be argued. But it’s important to know what to recycle and how to do it to be effective. If you are still uncertain, contact your local recycling center to find out how you can do your part.