The Secret to Good Recycling

Sarah Burke, staff writer

For something that’s been drilled into our minds since elementary school, recycling is actually pretty hard. With all the different types of plastics to food contamination, it seems like recycling is something you’d have to study for a few hours before truly understanding. Especially with everything else you’re supposed to be caring about at this point in our lives, throwing a yogurt cup in the recycling seems like the last thing you want to be thinking about. But if you learn how to be a friend to the Earth now, it won’t seem like such a hassle later on. So here are a few do’s and don’ts that will hopefully make recycling a piece of cake. 

Recycling Misconceptions: 

  • MYTH: Everything with the “recyclable logo” on it can be recycled.
  • TRUTH: That symbol actually means it has been MADE from recycled materials. It does not mean that it can be recycled. If the item has been soiled by food or contains a plastic liner, it will be thrown in the trash. Recycling companies cannot reuse something that has been soiled by food contamination. 


  • MYTH: I can recycle egg cartons. 
  • TRUTH: Any #6 plastic CANNOT be recycled in Minneapolis. This includes egg cartons, mushroom containers, take-out containers and many cups and plates from stores. 


  • MYTH: The can I recycled will go turned into another can when I recycle it. 
  • TRUTH: With most plastics, the plastic will go through many lives. They first use virgin materials to make the first item, but eventually the material cannot be recycled again. Often, a material will not be converted into the same product twice. 


  • MYTH: Recycling is more expensive than disposal. 
  • TRUTH: According to the EPA, recycling programs that are run well are much more cost effective. 


  • MYTH: You can recycle bottle caps. 
  • TRUTH: Not in Minneapolis. 



Hopefully, next time you reach to toss the greasy pizza box in the recycling, you will remember these tips. Educated recycling is effective recycling, so do not be afraid to remind your friends and family about a few of these facts when they forget. And there are always plenty of resources to learn more. Reach out to a friend in the Environmental Club or watch a TED talk. All that matters is that you keep growing and becoming more aware of your habits. Thanks for being an Earth ally!