How Do I Recycle? Common Recyclables

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Find a Recycling Location Near You

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Paper

Paper makes up nearly 30 percent of all wastes Americans throw away each year, more than any other material. Americans recycled about 63 percent of the paper they used in 2013. This recovered paper is used to make new paper products, saving trees and other natural resources. Most community or office recycling programs accept paper and paper products. Check what your community or office program accepts before you put it in the bin. When you go shopping, look for products that are made from recycled paper. Learn more about paper recycling .

Batteries

Some batteries contain heavy metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium, and nickel; therefore, many communities do not allow them to be thrown away with your regular trash. Recycling is always the best option for disposing of used batteries.

  • Lead-Acid Car Batteries can be returned to almost any store that sells car batteries. The lead and plastics from the batteries can then be recycled and used to manufacture new products. About

    99 percent of lead-acid car batteries are recycled.

  • Dry-Cell Batteries are used in a variety of electronics and include alkaline and carbon zinc (9-volt, D, C, AA, AAA), mercuric-oxide (button, some cylindrical and rectangular), silver-oxide and zinc-air (button), and lithium (9-volt, C, AA, coin, button, rechargeable) batteries. Look for in-store recycling bins or community collection events to dispose of these batteries.

Learn more about battery recycling .

Plastics

Americans generated 33 million tons of plastics in 2013, about 13 percent of the waste stream. Only nine percent of plastics were recycled in 2013. Some types of plastics are recycled much more than others. Most community recycling programs accept some, but not all, types of plastics. Look for products made from recycled plastic materials. Learn more about plastic recycling .

What do the symbols mean on the bottom of plastic bottles and containers? These symbols were created by plastic manufacturers to help people identify the kind of plastic resin used to make the container. This can help you determine if the container can be accepted by your local recycling program. The resin number is contained in a triangle, which looks very similar to the recycling symbol, but this does not necessarily mean it can be collected for recycling in your community.

Source: www2.epa.gov

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