Recycling is one of the easiest ways to save the environment. While almost everyone knows that cardboard, plastic, and glass should be recycled, some items are a little less clear. The easiest way to know if something is recyclable is to look for a rectangular chasing arrow symbol on the side or bottom of an item (see the image above). Anything that has this symbol can be recycled! 

There are also some common mistakes people make when recycling — like not cleaning out their recyclables before throwing them in the bin. According to America’s Plastic Makers, here are a few others things you will want to avoid when recycling:

  • While you can recycle bottle caps and plastic lids, these can easily get lost in the recycling process or damage equipment, so be sure to twist them back onto bottles and containers before tossing them into recycling bins.
  • Plastic bags can usually be recycled, but you should not throw them in the bin with your other recyclables, since they can damage sorting equipment. However, many grocery stores collect plastic bags for recycling. Look for these bins near the entrance of your local grocery store.
  • If you’re really not sure if something should be recycled, don’t recycle it. It could potentially damage recycling equipment.

Looking for a fun way to support recycling? Join America Recycles Day!

What is America Recycles Day?

Founded in 1997, America Recycles Day is a nationally-recognized day in the United States that encourages and celebrates recycling. This is a day to educate the public about their consumption habits, encourage them to recycle on a daily basis, and teach them how to recycle the right way. America Recycles Day is an initiative of Keep America Beautiful, an environmental nonprofit dedicated to stopping pollution.

Here are some things you can do to support recycling, according to the nonprofit:

To learn more about America Recycles Day, check out the Keep America Beautiful website

Recycling Sorter

Teach students about the challenges waste management centers face and different methods they use to sort recycling with the IEEE TryEngineering lesson plan, Recycling Sorter. Get it today.