Those three words tell you everything you need to know about how to prepare glass and plastic for recycling.
Why are we chanting this new tune? It’s because recent international policies have set a much higher standard for the quality of glass, plastic and paper that countries like China will accept for recycling. For example, all paper products must be completely clean—even a trace of food waste will turn that recyclable cardboard into garbage. Offending leftovers like soda, grease, mayonnaise or milk can creep out of containers and contaminate paper products. And don’t even get us started on peanut butter…
Keeping our recycling uncontaminated can be a challenge when it all goes into the same blue cart. But if we take a little time to make sure that our plastic and glass containers are empty, clean and dry beforehand, we can keep our recyclables pure. Of course we can do it!
So take that last bite of almond butter, spread that last bit of jelly. Wipe the jars clean (or stick them in the dishwasher along with your dirty plates), then let them dry completely before you put them in your blue cart. Those extra few seconds really make a difference between a longer life cycle for our materials or the landfill forever.
All food-soiled paper products (like greasy pizza boxes, take-out cartons and used napkins) go into the green cart to be composted, keeping the blue cart pristine for empty, clean and dry recycling. So let’s all sing together: Empty, Clean and Dry!
Oliver wants to remind everyone to clean out your jars before sorting them into the blue cart. Woof!
The green organics cart is the go-to place for food scraps and yard waste!
What goes in the green cart?
What DOESN’T go in the green cart?
for a complete list of accepted items.
Feeling overwhelmed by changes in recycling policies? Don’t sweat it! There’s a lot of information available online and through other resources, but Bay Area cities and counties recycle things differently, so what works in Alamo might not work in Alameda.
RecycleSmart provides the latest in recycling information direct to residents and businesses in our service area. Mailers, newspaper advertisements, social media posts, website and…this snazzy newsletter you’re reading right now contain the most reliable information for people in the RecycleSmart service area. Berkeley is so jealous.
In the tradition of St. Francis, the patron saint of ecology, San Damiano staff takes extra care to be kind to the natural world. Even so, facilities director Ron Roncarati was startled when he saw someone he didn’t know looking in his recycling bins. “I asked, can I help you?”
It was the beginning of a rich partnership: Ron invited the recycling checker, Heidi Smalley, Republic’s Recycling Coordinator for Danville businesses, to talk with his staff about recycling and compost. She visited twice, presenting in English and Spanish.
“My staff loves recycling!” Ron reports, “housekeeping and kitchen staff recycle every can and toilet paper roll.”
San Damiano has 72 guest rooms available 340 days a year, and its kitchen serves three delicious meals a day. Even with all of that activity, the retreat center has reduced a 6-yard dumpster to a 4-yard replacement. “The smaller one is hardly ever full,” Ron is proud to announce, “and that saves us money week after week, year after year after year.”
All are welcome to come and stay, but you don’t have to visit to be inspired by the folks at San Damiano. Just take a deep breath and listen carefully to the sound of your orange peels as they land in the green bin. Enjoy the moment and be sure to spread the peace you find.
International Compost Awareness Week, May 5–11
We make this “black gold” from your green cart organics! Compost is a super fertilizer for your houseplants or summer garden. Alone it can be too feisty for delicate roots, so just make sure to mix it with soil or use it as a mulching top layer.
Each household in the RecycleSmart service area is invited to take what they need—up to 3 yards of compost! One cubic yard can be spread 3 inches deep over 100 square feet (or a 10×10 foot area).
Visit RecycleSmart.org for the date of our 5th Annual Compost Giveaway and register at: RecycleSmart.org/compost2019 to be sure there’s plenty for everyone. Bring your own rigid containers to carry compost.
A tip from Joyce V. In Orinda
It seems like more companies are wrapping products in fabric or mesh bags lately in addition to other packaging. I save those bags and re-use them for produce when I go grocery shopping. In fact, I like them so much I bought a few more mesh bags in different sizes to hold certain items. I tuck them into my reusable grocery bags and give them a wash as needed!
Easy peasy lemon squeezy—no more plastic baggies in my grocery cart!
Each methane molecule is 20 times as powerful at trapping heat as one molecule of carbon dioxide! That’s what makes it such a nasty greenhouse gas. While we’re working hard to keep it out of the atmosphere, it’s fine to make a tasty model at home.
To make your own methane, you’ll need:
Methane is made of four hydrogen atoms (your little fruits) and one carbon atom (your larger fruit).
Poke the toothpicks into the large fruit, evenly spaced all the way around the sphere.
Attach the little hydrogen fruits to the toothpick points and you’ve made a methane molecule model.
Be a climate champion by capturing and gobbling up your methane! The wood toothpicks or wooden coffee stirrers can go into the green cart.