Your recycling questions answered!
In which bin do I put the plastic bags that I use to hold fruit and veggies when I'm weighing and purchasing them at the grocery store?
The short answer is the black bin. However, before doing that, here are some options to consider:
- Reduce the amount of plastic bags you use. Get reusable produce bags and bring them with you (along with a reusable tote bag for your grocery store purchases). Here are some examples of reusable produce bags: BahrEco, ChicoBag, Crate & Barrel, and Target.
- Reuse the plastic bag. These small bags are great for lining small trash bins (such as ones for a bathroom) or, if you have a dog, they are great for picking up dog poop.
- Recycle the plastic bag at a recycling facility. Although the plastic bags cannot be recycled in the blue bin at home, there are collection bins for plastic bag recycling at most grocery stores, as well as the Shoreway Environmental Center (see Public Recycling Center).
In which bin do I put snack bags (e.g. Fritos, Hot Cheetos, etc.)? They seem metallic and there is no sign of a chasing arrow on the package.
These shiny, metallic, film food wrappers (sometimes referred as mylar) should be disposed in the garbage bin. The better option would be to avoid buying products that contain mylar.
In which bin do I put air freshener canisters, the pump kind or spray that one finds in a bathroom?
If they are completely empty, they can go in the recycling bin.
Egg cartons, paper bags without food residue - we had been putting in the recycling bin, but it seems like they can go in either the compost or recycle bin? What would the City or Recology prefer? What is best from the reduce/reuse/recycle perspective?
If they are clean, Recology prefers that they be recycled into a new product. If they are soiled, then they should go into the compost bin where they can break down.
Are the foil-covered plastic packages for daily disposable contact lenses recyclable?
Unfortunately, those foil-covered plastic packages are not recyclable and are considered garbage.
Ice cream containers have a "waxy coating" on the outside but appear to be made of paper. Can they be composted or recycled?
Ice cream containers are similar to Starbucks or Peet's coffee cups. They can go into the compost bin.
I read recently that cartons that hold things like chicken broth, which to me are similar to milk cartons, are NOT recyclable. What is the difference between those kinds of cartons and cartons of milk?
Broth/stock/coconut water and similar packaging that is bought off-the-shelf are usually in a Tetra Pak container. Tetra Pak containers are made up of multiple materials designed to preserve the contents for shelf life (which is why it is stored in the dry food aisle but needs to be refrigerated once opened). As such, this packaging is not recyclable or compostable and must be discarded in the garbage.
Send your recycling questions to email@example.com. Find past questions and answers here; and an excellent resource for what goes in what bin here.