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Photo courtesy of Istock
Photo courtesy of Istock
Marian De Paula
Monday, Jun. 24, 2024

After spending five days vacationing with my family and sharing an apartment, I was amazed at the amount of waste we generated. With all the takeout food, plastic containers, food leftovers, it was a lot, and we all had different knowledge on how to dispose of waste.

There was a lot of confusion in terms of what was recyclable or not, and locations in the building for us to accurately place our waste. Is it the building trash chute or should we leave the plastic bags outside the chute? Wait, can we even use plastic bags? What items do we toss in the recycling bin?

For those who find recycling confusing and overwhelming the way we did, here are some basics!

Recycling is real, the economics work, therefore, your recycled waste will be likely be recycled.

The average American recycles approximately 1.16 pounds of materials per day. This includes items like paper and cardboard, yard trimmings, and food. In terms of percentages, about 32% of all solid waste in the United States was recycled in 2018, which amounts to approximately 94 million tons of waste for the whole year.

To ensure that recyclable materials are processed correctly, it's essential to understand and follow local recycling guidelines. These often include separating recyclables from non-recyclables, cleaning containers to remove food residue, and avoiding including non-recyclable items that can contaminate the recycling stream.

How Do I Recycle?

Know what to throw:

  • Cardboard

  • Paper

  • Metal cans

  • Plastic bottles and jugs

Empty. Clean. Dry: Keep all recyclables free of food and liquid.

How to Dispose of Recycling Waste in my Building?

Rule of thumb: Recycle through your front door trash pickup (in a transparent, sealed, plastic bag), the trash room located on your floor, or the external recycling dumpsters of your building (no plastic bag required!)

When in doubt about how to recycle a particular item, consulting with your building's waste management guidelines or local waste disposal authorities can clarify and ensure that your efforts contribute positively to the recycling process.

Individuals can play a crucial role in the larger environmental effort to reduce waste and promote a sustainable future.

Now, when it comes to the tricky stuff, here are the resources that help me build knowledge regarding your takeout and coffee!

Let’s make this happen! Recycle and see how you feel!

For Camden residents, view our helpful Resident Green Guide on our exclusive portal,

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